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Study: College Student Voting Rose in 2016 Election

September 21, 2017
 
 

College campuses after often the target for get-out-the-vote efforts, and there seems to be evidence that the strategy worked in the last election, at least to some extent. Turnout increased by more than three percent in 2016 compared to the previous presidential election, according to a new study from Tufts University.

Turnout was 48.3 percent, in 2016, compared to 45.1 percent in 2012. Among those who were registered to vote, 68.5 percent voted in 2016, compared to 65.3 percent in 2012.

Among the study's findings, which are based on data from 9.5 million students who were enrolled at higher education institutions in 2012 and 9.7 million students enrolled in 2016, Tuft’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civil Life found that women voted more than men, and Hispanic and Asian turnout was up.

Other takeaways from the report, which is available here, include:

  • Black turnout was down five percentage points, although 2012 set a very high baseline. (In 2012, black students had the highest turnout among all racial groups).
  • Students majoring in social sciences voted at higher rates, 53.2 percent in 2016, than STEM majors, 43.6 percent. Although voting rates increased in all fields of study, students in STEM fields voted at the lowest rates in both 2012 and 2016.
  • Turnout increases were highest at colleges in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton won New York and Massachusetts, while Trump narrowly took Pennsylvania. Compared to 2012, institutions in Georgia, Wisconsin and Mississippi saw the largest decreases in voter turnout in 2016.
  • Voter-registration rates did not considerably increase between 2012 and 2016.

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