In California, youth (hearts) Clinton

Young Latinos helped the senator from New York take the state.

Published February 6, 2008 9:23PM (EST)

Exit polls in California show that Sen. Hillary Clinton carried the state among voters of all ages in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, including those under age 30. So, what happened to the much-hyped Facebook-enabled youth movement for Obama in California? In two words: Latino voters.

Exit poll data from California shows that white voters, ages 18 to 29, did favor Obama, with 62 percent of them voting for him. But Latino voters in that same age group went for Clinton, with 67 percent of them voting for her, which gave Clinton a win in that age bracket overall. (The exit polls did not include specific data on black voters of that age range, although it did show that black men and women in general voted overwhelmingly for Obama.)

Notably, in California, Clinton did better with the youngest of the young, voters ages 18 to 24, than she did with 24-to-29-year-olds, but carried both of them. In Massachusetts, where Clinton also carried the majority of young voters, 57 percent of the voters ages 18 to 24 voted for her, while their older siblings, ages 25 to 29, favored Obama, with 59 percent of them voting for him.

But to keep these numbers in perspective, Obama won the largest share of the youth vote in 10 Super Tuesday states, including Connecticut, Illinois and Georgia, while Clinton won it in three states, Massachusetts, California and Arkansas, according to CIRCLE, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, a nonpartisan group that studies youth voting.

Good news for both contenders: More Democratic youth were moved to vote on Super Tuesday than Republican youth, according to CIRCLE, with more than 2 million Democrats under 30 going to the polls compared with only about 900,000 Republicans. That bodes well for a healthy turnout of young Democratic voters in the general election. Watch both Democratic candidates claiming that they're the choice of young voters in the coming weeks.

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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