Indiana hasn’t gone blue since 1964.
But on Tuesday night, the state garnered just enough democratic votes to edge out a victory for Sen. Barack Obama.
And the youth vote played a pivotal role in his win.
Sixty-three percent of young voters in Indiana voted for the former Illinois Senator, according to CNN.com, and they weren’t alone as nearly seven in 10 voters between the ages of 18 and 29 chose him over Sen. John McCain.
Obama won a majority of the youth vote in 41 states, according to CNN exit polls.
Political science professor Craig Curtis said he thinks the youth vote played a significant role in Obama’s victory of key battleground states.
Eighteen percent of the voting body in North Carolina was between 18 and 29 years old, and almost three-fourths of young voters cast their ballots for Obama.
“They always say that a lot of young people are going to come out, and then they don’t come out [but] they actually turned out and voted,” said Zach Sievers, the Bradley chapter coordinator for Students for Barack Obama.
He said the chapter took trips to Iowa to canvas in towns that weren’t decidedly in favor of Obama.
Sievers said students in the group made about 30 trips since the primaries.
“Part of the reason why he won is because we had a ridiculous volunteer base that we could just hop on buses and be in a crucial swing state in a few hours … it was honestly a perfect situation,” he said.
Sievers said he thinks youth participation in voting shows people are being responsible.
“People are starting to develop a curiosity and holding the government responsible,” he said. “They’re actually participating now instead of just sitting by and letting things go by chance. That’s huge.”
He said he thinks Obama’s “celebrity status” played a role in attracting the youth vote.
“It’s time that younger people took hold of everything that’s happening and they realize that Obama’s the future and McCain is holding onto the past,” Sievers said.
Curtis said Obama’s age appeals to young people.
“Who’s more likely to understand you, your parents or your grandparents?” he said. “Your grandparents don’t necessarily understand you because they’re two generations away.”
Curtis said he doesn’t necessarily think large universities played a role in whether states ended up blue or red. However, he said, “If you have a large institution, you tend to have more people who are going to be more liberal in their views.”
He said college-age students may have a difficult time voting for Republican candidates because they are more likely to cut higher education funding.
President of the College Democrats Josh Cox said he thinks the prospect of a different kind of politician who is willing to listen attracted young people.
“I think all we’ve known is eight years of [President George W. Bush] and eight years of controversy and eight years of anger and I think students are seeing McCain as an extension of that,” he said.