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Where Will Young Voters Shape the 2016 Elections?

Our exclusive, data-driven ranking highlights the 2016 races where young people have the highest potential to decide elections.

We’ve already seen young people have an impact on the early 2016 presidential contests, one more data point to add to the evidence that youth matter to elections. Today CIRCLE presents the Youth Electoral Significance Index (YESI), our exclusive, data-based rankings of the states and districts where young voters (ages 18-29) have the most potential to impact the 2016 Presidential and Congressional elections.

According to our analysis, youth in Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Colorado are top-5 in their potential to shape the presidential contest. Young voters in four of those states (NH, PA, OH, CO), along with Illinois, are poised to shape their Senate races. Youth in three Iowa districts (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) along with their peers in the Colorado 6th and Florida 7th, are among the top-10 for potential impact in House races.

The YESI does not predict youth turnout or election results, but instead identifies races in which the youth vote has the highest potential to influence the outcome. The computation of these indices is based on predictions made by experts about each 2016 race, data from past races, youth population, state and district population characteristics, and state election laws. Together, these indicators generate a rating for each 2016 congressional race and each state in the presidential contest. The result is a ranking of where youth are most likely to have the most electoral significance and to impact elections on the federal level.

We hope the Youth Electoral Significance Index will serve as a valuable tool for organizations and individuals interested in enhancing youth engagement. For campaigns, parties, and political movements of all types, the YESI can inform the allocation of scarce resources and encourage them to invest in youth turnout, in their own interests. For journalists, it can suggest states and districts in which to cover the youth vote and can provide insights about youth in those districts.

You can read explore the interactive tool above or read the the full YESI report, including information about our methodology.