Clean and Prosperous America

Young Voter Research: Pennsylvania

November 2022

Lancaster and Dauphin County Poll Results

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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