Do Not Ignore Talking Directly to This Consistent Voting Block-
For too many years, young voters were considered “flaky and unreliable voters” making them an unsafe bet for campaigns to focus scarce resources targeting. Well.. this logic is as old as the consultants that still make these false claims without reviewing the data showing that young voters are a consistent force.
Historically, young voters were not always interested in participating in politics and civil society, however, Gen Z has turned this around all over the globe. Reports show that young voters are increasing their participation at ballot boxes worldwide.
A 2019 article by the European Council on Foreign Relations redefined the unwritten rule of European political campaigns to not target young voters, by drawing attention to the fact that campaigns should be betting on young voters. According to the ECFR, “The participation rate among young people in Italy is projected to be close to 50 percent – higher than that of all Spanish, German, Polish, or Dutch voters.”
In the U.S. many states shared the same data from 2022 – young people are turning out and voting, and they want to know more. Circle estimated that 27% of youth, ages 18-29, cast a ballot in 2022, making it the second-highest youth voter turnout for a midterm election in thirty years. According to the recent report published by SocialSphere; Gen Z voters (ages 15-25) are coming to the polls wishing they held more knowledge about candidates in higher numbers than any other year.
Tufts University published a report on exit polls that revealed 27% of voters aged 18 to 29 cast ballots in the 2022 Midterm elections, which is the second-highest turnout from the age group in the last thirty years.
This leaves the door open for political candidates and campaigns to ensure they aren’t only targeting older generations. And that your communications are appealing to Gen Z voters as they come into their own political identities. Personal morals are most important to this age group, and talking about Gen Z voters has been a theme in bipartisan campaigns for the past few years. What campaigns are failing to do now is spend money directly talking to Gen Z, instead of about them!
The values of politicians, not their slogan or campaign route, are what interests these young voters. There are opportunities on both sides of the political scale for both Democrats and Republicans to make their mark on young people coming into their political identity. Emma Bloomberg, Founder and CEO of Murmuration, “Gen Z is unlike any other previous generation and, given their potential to influence a positive future for public education and civic engagement in this country, they should be viewed as an integral audience for all who are trying to help shape the debate and effect change in this country.” – Pennsylvania Capital Star.
Just as young voters are taking to the polls in the U.S., young voters in Nigeria mobilized ahead of their presidential election. Frustrated by high unemployment and worsening violence, young people have brought a third-party candidate, Peter Obi, to the table as a serious contender for the Presidential bid – Whether their candidate wins or not, young voters in Nigeria, the largest country in Africa with 93 million registered voters, has almost 40% of its population under the age of 35. In other countries in Africa’s, young populations may soon be inspired to mobilize in their upcoming elections as well.
The Youth vote in the USA has been a significant voting block for the last few cycles. And when they get out and vote, Democrats win. In November 2022, this was proven in the midterm. According to Target Smart voters “under the age of 30 comprised 10.3% of the electorate” and matched the vote share of 10.5% from the 2018 “Blue Wave” election. Numbers have continued to rise since then, and match the trend everywhere else on the globe – that young people are voting. Young voters are paying attention and want real change.
This movement is worldwide, and the lesson we can gather from the global increase in youth voters means that young people are dedicated to their role in making change.
Politicians take note, young voters are an untapped demographic of people wanting real, systematic change all over the globe. The power of Gen-Z voters could be the reason your campaign wins…or loses.