Youth Vote: Powering the Ron Paul Revolution
How a grandfather figure has ignited a generation of young voters.
Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire Primary, but Ron Paul won the youth vote by a landslide.
In fact, it is the "Y factor" that propelled Ron Paul into a solid second-place finish in the Primary – without which he could not have beat Huntsman.
That observation and more are found in a report issued Wednesday by CIRCLE – the Tufts University research-based Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement that determined 29,000 voters under the age of 30 voted in the Jan. 10 primary, a majority of those votes going to Paul [see inset chart.]
"Although young voters did not turn out at a particularly high rate this year, they did have an impact by concentrating their votes for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), helping him come in second behind former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA),” said CIRCLE Director Peter Levine. “Dr. Paul’s 47 percent support from 18- to 29-year-olds was the strongest level of support for any candidate by any age group."
One day after the election Paul was fielding criticism over "rowdy behavior" exhibiting in the weeks leading up to the primary by some of his young volunteers, as reported by Politico.
“I tell people they ought to be polite, and if they even bend over — lean over and get into this area where they’re breaking laws and practicing civil disobedience, they do it at their own risk,” said Paul. “You know, civil disobedience is a proper tool as it was in the civil rights movement, but you’ve got to be very careful,” Paul was quoted as saying in the article.
As far as the numbers go, CIRCLE reports that Tuesday's primary figures are most accurately compared with those from the 2004 New Hampshire primary, because, unlike the 2000 and 2008 primaries, only one party had a competitive race that year.
That said, turnout for yesterday’s GOP primary was about 29,000, which compares to the 26,000 voters under 30 who came out to support Barack Obama in the 2008 New Hampshire Primary.
Elizabeth Ricketts, 20, and Cody Segraves, 19, both of West Virginia, are representative of Paul's youthful supporters. They are completely charged up over Paul's campaign, traveling to New Hampshire just to help promote Ron Paul among undecided voters here.
"We've been trying to encourage people to vote for Ron Paul by door knocking and visiting the polls," said Ricketts.
"I've been following Ron Paul since 2007, and he's really the only one who's honest – and he doesn't want to bankrupt my future," Segraves said.
Lindsey Deknikker, 27, of Haverhill, Mass., said this is her first time voting in any election.
"To be honest, I never voted before. It's the first time I've been engaged and intrigued by a politician," said Deknikker, who said she has several reasons for supporting Paul, including one she wears on her sleeve.
She shows off her bracelet that reads "Support Our Troops."
"My sister's boyfriend was sent over to Afghanistan last year, and I feel Ron Paul is the only candidate who will bring the troops home," Deknikker said. "Obama said he would do that, and yet he sent more troops over. Ron Paul changed my mind about a lot of things."