August 28, 2017
Bill Shapard

The youth vote in Oklahoma? Not what you think.

Every election year, the discussion eventually turns to the youth vote, and last year was no different.  But, youth voting in Oklahoma is very much different than what you may think or find on the East Coast for example.

In Oklahoma, nearly half, or 48.7 percent, of those age 18 to 34 who voted in the 2016 general election last November were registered Republicans. While voting for a candidate of another party certainly happens in the general election, its important to at least look at the party registration as a key indicator of possible voter intent.

Voting Behavior by Party_2

Of those age 18 to 34 who voted, 32.8 percent were registered Democratic, which is six percentage points less than Democrats in the overall electorate (38.5 percent). In fact, the chart above shows that 45.6 percent of those voting over the age of 65 are Democrats and the largest percentage of any of the Democratic turnout numbers.

The analysis also shows that Republicans are outperforming Democrats overall in turnout when comparing the percentage of Republicans who voted to the comparable percentage that is registered -- 50.9 percent compared to 47.6 percent registered. The percentage is same, 38.5 percent, for both Democrats who voted and among those registered.

Among Independent voters, which make up 13.8 percent of those registered to vote, the overall percentage of Independents among those who voted is less, 10.6 percent, which continues to show us that Independents vote less than their overall registration population.  The good news, however, is that Independent voters among those age 18 to 34 are turning out at a much higher rate, showing a more active voting behavior than the population of Independents overall.

Voter Behavior by Age Group

Where Oklahoma more mirrors the nation is in turnout by age groups. While 24.1 percent of registered voters are between the ages of 18 and 34, they make less than 20 percent of the electorate on election day.

Among those age 65 or older, they constitute 27.4 percent of the electorate, but only 25.7 percent of those registered.  In fact, voters over the age of 55 make up nearly half of the electorate, 48.4 percent, but only 44.7 percent of registered voters.

This is according to analysis performed by SoonerPoll of non-polling data in an effort to gain additional insight into the Oklahoma electorate and shifts that may be occurring.

Bill Shapard
About the Author

Bill Shapard

Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on major campaigns for both Republicans and Democrats in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004.