New research from Tufts University indicates that early voting and absentee ballots among young voters ages 18 and 29 have spiked in Florida.
Why? Young voters seem to be getting more civically engaged politically for a variety of reasons, according to Tufts data scientist Rey Junco. The surge also is seen as a positive sign for former Vice President Joe Biden since polls have tended to show younger, millennial voters favoring him.
His team of researchers found that votes cast by youth as of Oct. 21 have surpassed the 2016 presidential margin of victory from the same date, especially in battleground Florida.
“The numbers are especially dramatic in Florida where we have seen over 250,000 young people vote,” Junco told Click Orlando.
The surge contrasts with 44,000 votes at the same time in 2016. However, Junco said the data collected can’t be a measuring stick.
“It’s really hard to say from a single data point, where things are going to move,” Junco said.
First-time voter Tracy Alt told Click Orlando that she saw voting as her civic duty.
“I knew this was going to happen in light of what has happened just this year,” Alt said.
Junco said the data suggests the youth vote in swing states could determine the outcome of the upcoming election.
“Young people can actually shape the race pretty substantially,” Junco said.
President Donald Trump voted in his adopted home of Florida before hitting the campaign trail for rallies in three swing states on Saturday, joining more than 54 million Americans who have cast early ballots at a record-setting pace ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
Trump cast his ballot at a library in West Palm Beach, near his Mar-a-Lago resort, after switching his permanent residence and voter registration last year from New York to Florida, a must-win battleground for his re-election bid.
“I voted for a guy named Trump,” he told reporters after voting.
With 10 days to go in the campaign, about 54.2 million Americans have already cast early ballots, a pace that could lead to the highest voter turnout in more than a century, according to data from the U.S. Elections Project.
Trump has regularly condemned mail-in voting without evidence as prone to fraud, even though experts say it is as safe as any other method. He voted by mail in two elections since he switched his address to Florida.
The large number of early voters is a sign of the intense interest in this year’s election, as well as concerns about avoiding crowded polling places on Election Day and reducing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, which has killed more than 224,000 Americans.
Opinion polls show Biden leading Trump nationally, but the race is much closer in the battleground states that will decide the election. Trump will head to three of those after voting, holding rallies in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.
In Pennsylvania, polls show Biden narrowly leading. A Reuters/Ipsos survey released earlier this week showed Biden with a four-percentage point advantage over Trump in the state, down from seven points the week before.
Biden will get some help again on Saturday from former President Barack Obama, who will hold a drive-in rally in Miami.
Obama, still popular in the party nearly four years after leaving office, delivered a blistering attack on Trump’s leadership when he made his 2020 campaign-trail debut in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
Material from the Reuters was used in this story.
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