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The Youth Exodus

December 30, 2011

Spurred by President Obama's campaign, younger voters proved a decisive, and growing, segment of the electorate in 2008. They turned out at higher levels than they had in generations, giving Democrats wins in swing states that had been off the table for a generation or more.

This year, Democrats are again counting on those younger voters to help Obama win a second term. But a new study from a Tufts University political scientist suggests the Obama campaign is going to have to work hard to prevent those younger voters from disappearing.

The study, from Tufts' Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, shows more than 48,000 young adults between the ages of 18-25 dropped off voter rolls in North Carolina. More than 80 percent -- 39,000 -- of those younger voters were registered Democrats. That's devastating for a state Obama won by just 14,000 votes.

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