Clean and Prosperous America

2022 Young Voter Research

Dauphin & Lancaster Counties, PA

August 2022

We believe democracy is strongest when all are represented. Because young voters of color in non-urban areas register and turn out to vote in smaller shares than other groups of voters, our focus is on engaging with these under-represented 18-35 year-old voters of color in small towns and rural areas. These voters tend to attract less attention from federal and state-level candidates and campaigns than older voters, and voters in urban areas. 

To better understand this cohort, and to help our partner community organizations engage with them, we asked Change Research to conduct an online survey of 287 BIPOC voters aged 35 or younger in Lancaster and Dauphin counties, PA from August 10 – 22. We also track research published by other organizations, and have distilled our primary takeaways here:

Lancaster_Dauphin County Survey Crosstabs

Pollster Briefing Lancaster_Dauphin County Results

CaPA evaluation of poll + guidance

The good news:

Young voters of color in non-urban areas are motivated to vote

  • A majority of voters, 61%, are extremely motivated to vote – slightly less than the 70% of all young adults nationwide who said the same in a recent Civiqs survey and the 70% of 18 to 29 year olds in Pennsylvania who were extremely or very motivated to vote in the recent Environmental Voter Project poll.

The bad news:

Young voters of color in non-urban areas face barriers to voting

  • Only half are sure they have been contacted by a candidate or campaign 
    • How can we expect them to turn out if no one invites them to vote?
    • ACTION: Engage early and often; invite to “be a voter”
  • They feel their vote matters more at the local level, but they are less familiar with local candidates
    • While 41% say their vote matters a lot for federal elections, 53% say the same about state government elections, and 64% for local elections. Every major demographic group finds that their vote matters more as they move further down the ticket.
    • Yet, the majority of state legislative and local level candidates are unfamiliar to voters. Nearly three-fifths of voters are unfamiliar with local candidates and just over half of voters are unfamiliar with state legislative candidates.
    • A survey from Civic Influencers shows that 48% of 18-29 year-olds say lack of access to information about candidates is a barrier to voting
    • Local candidates offer an appealing gateway to voting, from the bottom of the ballot up
    • ACTION: Educate with this voter guide
  • Many are unclear about how, when, and where to vote
    • 53% of youth voters either incorrectly identify the next Congressional elections or don’t know when they are, per a national survey from Rise/Murmuration/Voto Latino
    • As of  June 2022, there are 7% fewer young people (ages 18-24) in PA registered to vote than at the same point in the previous midterm election cycle, per a Tufts University report. Among newly eligible voters ages 18-19, the picture is bleaker; voter registrations in June 2022 trail the June 2018 pace by 46%.
    • Removing “friction” from the “last mile” is a priority
    • ACTION: Encourage others to register and make a plan to vote, using this tool

Key findings from our Change Research survey are summarized here:

Download | Full Screen
Pollster-Briefing-Lancaster_Dauphin-County-Results

Links to other relevant surveys are here:

The Youth Electorate Has the Potential to Decide Elections in Pennsylvania

CIRCLE, Tisch College at Tufts University

  • As of  June 2022, there are 7% fewer young people (ages 18-24) in PA registered to vote than at the same point in the previous midterm election cycle, per a Tufts University report. Among newly eligible voters ages 18-19, the picture is bleaker; voter registrations in June 2022 trail the June 2018 pace by 46%.

Young people of color in Pennsylvania, where close to 25% of the population is nonwhite, may be especially influential. In CIRCLE’s 2020 election-week analysis of county-level data, we found that… in counties with more youth of color, President Biden’s vote share was twice as high as counties with a low proportion of youth of color (54% and 28%, respectively).

How to Drastically Increase Youth Voter Participation and Reduce Inequities in Turnout

CIRCLE, Tisch College at Tufts University

  • Lack of Information = Lack of Registration: 22% of youth, ages 18-21, who were not registered to vote in the 2020 election said they didn’t know how to do it.

This report underscores what we’ve learned in two decades of research on youth political engagement: young people have the potential and the desire to lead at the ballot box and beyond,” says Abby Kiesa, deputy director of CIRCLE. “But, as a country, we haven’t given them all the opportunities and the support to fulfill that potential, or we’ve done it for some youth while leaving others neglected by our democratic institutions.

Mobilizing youth voters as we approach the midterms

Rise/Murmuration/Voto Latino

  • 53% of youth voters either incorrectly identify the next Congressional elections or don’t know when they are, per a national survey from Rise/Murmuration/Voto Latino

The thousands of youth we talked to have made it clear that not enough campaigns or civic organizations are reaching and inspiring them,” said Max Lubin, CEO of Rise, Inc. “After turning out in historic numbers in 2018 and 2020, young people want to lead change once again, but need more support and outreach from groups on the ground to make their voices heard.

2020 Young Voter Research

Speaking to Ambivalent Young Voters

September, 2019 → September, 2020 — National Research

To boost the prospects of forward-thinking politicians up and down the ballot, CaPA conducted a multi-month quantitative and qualitative research endeavor focused on messaging themes that can engage a cohort of largely untapped voters living in non-urban areas that we call the “Ambivalent Young Voters.” This research included two 2020 nationwide surveys, a swing state survey, and a series of four in-person focus groups, with a cumulative sample size of over 4,200 young voters. 

These eligible voters are generally disinterested in politics and unmotivated to vote, but CaPA has identified an assortment of issues that appeal to this demographic. Winning their support can make the difference in close races this November while also establishing long-term ideological support among early and first-time voters.

If you are interested in learning more about these themes and operationalizing them in the field, please request a meeting to discuss the Candidate Playbook by sending an email to scheduling@cleanprosperousamerica.org.

Watch this 10-minute Video Briefing with CaPA’s Research and Marketing Director Bill McClain and/or review the briefing deck at your own pace.

CaPA’s findings are summarized in this publication of the Candidate Playbook.

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Clean and Prosperous America is both a 501.c4 and a Political Action Committee located in Seattle, WA.