Higher young voter turnout in midterms changes approach to major political issues

John Yang:

Analysts say Gen Z and millennial voters played a key role in the midterm elections to help Democrats stave off the Republican red wave. While they’re a relatively small portion of the electorate, voters under 30 have shown increased participation in the last few elections and supported Democratic candidates by bigger margins than ever before.

Two voices to talk about this voting bloc.

John Della Volpe is director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. He’s the author of “Fight: How Gen Z Is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America.” And Victor Shi, he’s a student at UCLA and director of strategy for Voters of Tomorrow, a nonpartisan Gen Z-centered civics advocacy group.

Gentlemen, thanks to you both for joining us.

John Della Volpe, I’d like to start with you.

How big a difference did these voters make in the midterms?

John Della Volpe, Director of Polling, Institute of Politics, Harvard University: Thanks for having us.

I think they made all the difference, John. Let me break it down for your pretty simply. When you think about Gen Z, and you add in millennials, OK, those are essentially two generations of voters who have a similar set of values, they voted for Democrats by 18 points, OK, plus-18 for Democrats, the under-40 vote, 59-41.

Republicans won the over-40 vote, which, as you said, is much larger, by 10 points. So, if not for Gen Z, and the combination of Gen Z and millennials, I do think we have that red wave that so many people were expecting. Gen Z, specifically the people under 30, increased their level of participation relative to the average, increase their support for Democrats, and made all the difference in the world a couple of weeks ago.

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