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October 29, 2018

Voter turnout among young Americans tends to be embarrassingly low, but this year, things may be different.

In a new poll conducted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, 40 percent of voters under 30 said they will definitely turn out for the midterm election this year, The Washington Post reports. That may not seem like a lot, but it's up from the last two midterms. For comparison, in 2014, only 26 percent of young voters said they would definitely vote.

Among Democrats, 54 percent said they will definitely vote in the midterms, and 43 percent of Republicans said the same. The Washington Post notes this number for young Republicans is actually higher than it was in 2010, which was the year the party took control of the House and the Senate.

These poll results are despite the fact that early voting numbers for young people in some states aren't very impressive; for instance, in Florida, just 5 percent of the votes cast so far have come from voters between ages 18 and 29, reports Politico. But in the new survey, just nine percent of respondents who said they will vote this year said they planned to do so at a location set up for early voting.

Harvard University's Institute of Politics conducted its poll by speaking to 2,003 Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 from Oct. 3-Oct. 17. The margin of error is 3.18 percentage points. Brendan Morrow

October 19, 2018

Turnout for the last midterm elections was embarrassingly poor, but this year, things are looking different.

As early voting surges in some states, election expert Michael McDonald told Talking Points Memo Friday he's predicting a turnout of between 45 and 50 percent of eligible voters. That would be the highest figure since at least 1970, when turnout hit 47 percent, and could possibly be the highest since 1966, when turnout was 49 percent, NPR reports.

This is a significant turnaround from the 2014 midterms, when just 36 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, the worst showing since World War II, per PBS. The 2018 upswing isn't entirely surprising, though, considering turnout was also way up in primary elections earlier this year; about 37 million people participated in House primaries, compared to 24 million four years ago, Pew Research Center reports.

Early voting has already hit very high numbers in several states, from Georgia to Tennessee and Kansas. McDonald told TPM that the data he's seeing so far is "very unusual," especially in Georgia, where three times as many people have cast their ballots than did by this point in 2014. He added, "I've never seen anything like this." Brendan Morrow

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