Young voters who have attended college favor President Obama by the same margin as their peers without experience in college, according to an analysis of poll data released on Thursday by the Tufts University Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
More than half of the 18-to-29-year-old registered and extremely likely voters who were polled said they supported President Obama, compared with about a third who preferred the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. There was little difference in candidate choice between voters who had at least some college experience and those who hadn’t.
However, young voters who had been in college were more likely to be following the election and to have formed opinions on policy issues.
Those voters who had attended college also appeared to be a more sought-after group for the Obama campaign. Such voters were more likely to report that they had been contacted by the president’s campaign while their peers without college experience were more likely to have been contacted by the Romney campaign. Still, the vast majority—nearly 85 percent—of all young voters polled said they had not been contacted by any political party or campaign.
Research has shown that young voters, in general, tend to pay attention to elections closer to Election Day than do other groups of voters, according to Peter Levine, director of the Tufts center, which is known as Circle.
The center polled a national sample of voters over the summer and surveyed the same cohort again in the middle of October.
Over the past several months, “their interest and engagement have risen rapidly,” Mr. Levine said in a conference call with reporters this week. “That’s consistent with previous research from exit polls that young people engage later.”
The Tufts poll’s finding that young voters overwhelmingly favor the president is in line with other polls of such voters released in recent months, including a Harvard Institute of Politics survey in October.