Center for American Progress

REPORT: Analysis of CAP Poll on Marriage Equality Campaigns Shows How Progressive Movements Can Capitalize on Youth Engagement
Press Release

REPORT: Analysis of CAP Poll on Marriage Equality Campaigns Shows How Progressive Movements Can Capitalize on Youth Engagement

Press Contacts

  • Tom Caiazza

Washington, D.C. — Young people turned out to the polls in the last two presidential election cycles at the highest rates since 1992 and played a particularly important role in the 2012 votes on marriage equality. As a result, political observers have turned their attention to the habits and demographics of this increasingly influential political group, and new analysis from the Center for American Progress and Generation Progress provides insights into the thinking of voters between ages 18 and 30 on their support for marriage equality and other progressive issues.

The poll was part of a research project commissioned by CAP and conducted by Grassroots Solutions, which analyzed core lessons from the four successful 2012 marriage equality initiatives in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. It examined how and why young people get involved in campaigns, what their priorities are, and how progressive movements can reach out to young voters.

“The last few election cycles have made clear that the youth demographic is becoming far more engaged than it had been and that young people are passionate about a broad range of progressive causes,” said Hannah Hussey, Research Associate for CAP’s LGBT Research and Communications Project. “This analysis shows that young voters are defining new modes of political engagement and illustrates how progressive movements can capitalize on that.”

According to the report, young people are paying attention to and willing to work toward improving education, reducing the cost of college, and making health care more affordable. Young African American respondents also expressed high levels of interest in poverty reduction. Additionally, Hispanic respondents indicated more interest than other demographic groups in immigration reform and the protection of air and water.

“We are the generation that wants to make change on issues important to our and future generations,” said Sarah Audelo, Policy Director for Generation Progress. “The findings clearly show that issues such as college affordability, health care, and immigration reform are important ones that shape our political engagement. If officials want to engage more Millennial voters, they must align their campaigns with these issues and create space for young people to engage as leaders on campaigns.”

The report recommends that campaigns provide youth-driven opportunities for young voters to express their voices on a personal level and that they frame their issues as part of a broader movement for justice that encompasses the economic, educational, and health care priorities about which young people care most deeply.

Click here to read the report.

For more information on this topic, contact Tom Caiazza at 202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org.