Voting at Black Colleges Could Drop 30 Percent, Can Dems Fix the Apathy?by Tony Pugh December 2, 2017
Certainly, the lower turnout reflected the absence of President Barack Obama from the Democratic ticket in 2016, a lack of enthusiasm for the new standard-bearer, Hillary Clinton, and a weakening of the longtime allegiance between the party and African-American youth. But the worst may be yet to come.
If historic trends hold, Democrats could see black voter turnout drop 30 percent in 2018, resulting in 5.2 million fewer African-American voters, according to a report by the non-partisan Voter Participation Center and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake.
College Student Voting Rates and Lessons for 2016
The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) has released a detailed analysis of the voting rates of millions of college students, highlighting important findings relevant to the 2016 presidential election.
This first-of-its kind study offers insights into precisely how certain groups of college students voted in 2012, based on an analysis of the voting records of 7.4 million students at 783 higher education institutions.
Major findings include:
- Overall, college students in the NSLVE study voted at a rate of 45% in 2012, with those eligible to vote for the first time voting at a lower rate of 40%.
- Women voted at higher rates than men.
- Among all racial/ethnic groups, Black students voted at the highest rate (55%). Among Black students, women in the study voted at a rate of 61%, while men voted at 44%, which was similar to the percentage of white men (45%).
- Only 48% of first-time eligible voters chose to vote in person on Election Day. The remainder voted absentee (29%), early (16%) or by mail (7%), where allowed.
The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) offers colleges and universities an opportunity to learn their student registration and voting rates and, for interested campuses, a closer examination of their campus climate for political learning and engagement and correlations between specific student learning experiences and voting. The study is both a service to colleges and universities interested in learning about their students’ voting habits and a national database for research on college student political learning and engagement in democracy.
This analysis uses the NSLVE database for the 2012 election, which includes voting and enrollment information for about 8 million graduate and undergraduate students across 897 U.S. higher education institutions. We merged NSLVE data with data from other sources, such as the Integrated Postsecondary Data System (IPEDS) and the Current Population Survey. We then used ordinary least squares regression with robust standard errors to estimate the relationship between institutional voting rates and several institution-level variables, such as institution type and information about the surrounding community. Through the analysis, we identified several factors that predicted institutional voting rates, including demographics of the student body and various characteristics of the institution and of the surrounding community.