After delivering one of their lowest midterm performances on record in 2014, young voters aged 18 to 29 turned out at their highest levels in 25 years in 2018. An estimated 31 percent of youth voters went to the polls, outperforming their turnout rates for the past seven election cycles, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
Once young voters got to the polls, exit polling showed fully two-thirds of them voted for Democrats, slightly besting the rates at which they voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and delivering a higher share of their votes to Democrats than at any time since 1986, according to CNN.
CNN's Ron Brownstein also notes how evenly that support was spread throughout the country.
- Senate Democratic candidates won voters aged 18-29 in all 21 Senate races with an exit poll except for Indiana, where they split evenly between Joe Donnelly and Republican Mike Braun (this does not include California, where two Democrats faced off).
- Senate Democrats carried some 60 percent or more of young voters in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota (both for incumbent Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith), Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
- Democrats also reached at least 60 percent with them in governor's races in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and California (where Gavin Newsom won nearly 70 percent of young voters).
And guess what? The trend continued into voters aged 30-44. While Clinton won 51 percent of those voters in 2016, House Democrats captured 58 percent of that vote this cycle, according to the national House exit poll.
But the young voters coming out in droves, relatively speaking, with many of them casting their very first vote, bodes very well for Democrats in the future. First-time voting tends to lead to continued voter engagement, and party allegiances are often cemented early on.