Many people have been saying that young voters are going to shift the United States to the left politically. There are a handful of questions on this site about this topic with low propensity young voters generally having more progressive attitudes.

I read online in the Pew Research Center that Democrats in the House won the demographic group that I am asking about by 35% in 2018. But the same Pew study (don't have the link but it shouldn’t be too difficult to find) showed that Biden and Clinton won young voters by only about 20%.

I saw the same sort of story happened in the Georgia runoffs for the Senate vs the Presidential ticket.

Why does there seem to be some sort of drop-off with young voters support of Republicans that accompanies lower turnout elections?

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    Please specify which Clinton and Biden elections you are referring to. I assume you mean Hillary's presidential bid, but I mentally went to Bill first. Jun 3, 2021 at 16:10
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    What do you mean by: "Low propensity voters"? Jun 3, 2021 at 16:13
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    In US politics, this kind of analysis can be misleading. You must go to at least state level granularity, since national demographic trends are often driven by the large populations in non-competitive states. That said, I think Pew surveys are a good, overall objective, resource - especially for evolution of public attitudes over time (many issue-questions are asked regularly over 10+ year periods).
    – Pete W
    Jun 3, 2021 at 16:40
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    Low propensity = Unlikely to turnout to vote (apathetic voters) Jun 3, 2021 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


"Why" questions of this type are hard. Many of the trends that can be observed in different demographic "slices" counteract each other.

Still, you could gain insight analyzing in terms of the correlations between education, party affiliation, turnout, age, wealth/income, race, and urban/rural location.

By default, young voters have historically been less likely to vote in the US. A rule-of-thumb in US politics used to be that a person's percent-chance of voting in a non-presidential election is reasonably well approximated by their age. One big exception to this comes from voter-registration drives at colleges and universities. Within the population of young voters, these focused voter-registration efforts create a selection bias for more highly educated and urban location, both of which correlate with Democratic party voters.

Other factors would be

  • The Democratic party's more progressive positions on social issues are a natural fit to younger age groups.
  • The 2D age-vs-race demographic breakdowns, in which non-white voters are overall younger. This also correlates to Democratic party.
  • The correlation of age to wealth and income. More money in the bank opens the door to typically Republican positions on taxation and redistribution.

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