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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Poll: Young Voters Could Turn Out In Record Numbers

A new national poll by Harvard University's Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, finds nearly a third (32 percent) of 18 to 24 year olds "definitely" plan on voting in the upcoming midterm elections, a proportion that will likely amount to the highest turnout percentage for this age group in any midterm election in the last 20 years.

The poll also finds that young people continue to disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president, with the president averaging a grade of "C-" on seven key issues facing America, with the lowest mark coming on his handling of the war in Iraq (D-plus)

Finally, 18-24 year olds seem to favor a swapping of majority parties in Congress, as a majority of likely voters (52 percent) said they favor a Congress controlled by Democrats following the November elections.

The IOP has been conducting regular polling of America's college students for six years highlighting key trends and issues related to politics and public service. For the first time, this fall's IOP poll has been expanded to look at the political views of all 18-24 year olds, whether or not they are attending a four-year college or university, providing an even more comprehensive look at a demographic critical to the outcome of the 2006 and 2008 elections.

"Voter turnout by young people approached record numbers in 2004 and our polling shows 18-24 year olds are engaged and ready to show up again in 2006," said Harvard's Institute of Politics Director Jeanne Shaheen. "Younger voters could make the difference in campaigns across the country -- political parties and candidates can't afford to ignore them."

The online survey of 2,546 18- 24-year-old U.S. citizens was conducted between Oct. 4 and Oct. 16.

The IOP's mission is to unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists and policymakers on a non-partisan basis and to stimulate and nurture their interest in public service and leadership. The institute strives to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic world and the world of politics and public affairs.

More information is available online at


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