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CIRCLE: Can Romney Draw Youth Support?

Four percent of eligible Florida voters under the age of 30 participated in last night’s primary, according to preliminary analysis by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), and they voted for former Gov. Mitt Romney ahead of Rep. Ron Paul by a margin of 16 percentage points – even though youth were Romney’s weakest age group and Paul drew almost four times as many young voters as he did in the 2008 primary.

The youth turnout, at 4%, was higher than it had been in 2004, the last time only one party held a contested Florida primary. Recent years in which both the Republicans and the Democrats held competitive races in Florida, 2000 and 2008, youth turned out at a rate of 4% and 13%, respectively.

Because of a lack of available data, the CIRCLE turnout estimates do not include young people who participated in Florida’s uncontested Democratic primary.