NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Young Americans Are Increasingly Nonvoters

October 11, 2000

Many young Americans of voting age won't be going to the polls this November. That may be because substantial numbers of them can't even name the major candidates for president and vice president.

  • In the 1972 presidential election, almost half of 18- to 24-year-olds voted.
  • However, only 32 percent in this age group bothered to vote in the 1996 presidential election -- and less than 20 percent turned out for the 1998 midterm elections.
  • About 48 percent of the age group surveyed this year said they got most of their political information from television -- with 15 percent naming newspapers and 4 percent identifying radio or the Internet.

According to a July survey by American Express and the Close Up Foundation, one-third of youths ages 16 to 21 couldn't name either of the two party candidates -- and more than 75 percent couldn't name their vice-presidential running mates.

Source: Cheryl Wetzstein, "Poll Finds Young Politically Ignorant," Washington Times, October 11, 2000.


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