How young voters are playing a critical role in the Arizona governor race

We asked ASU students what issues mattered to them.
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 9:15 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- New polling shows the race for Arizona governor is in a dead heat between Kari Lake and Katie Hobbs. According to a Arizona’s Family/HighGround survey, 45.8% of those surveyed favor Hobbs while 44.8% support Lake. The race is well within the margin of error is ±4.3%.

If you break it down by age, things look very different. Lake is trailing significantly with younger voters, picking up 28.3% of the Under 29 age group. Hobbs picked up 58.3% of the youth vote, but she’s behind Lake when it comes to older voters.

But will younger voters go to the polls? Young voters typically don’t turn out like their parents or grandparents. Only about half of 18 to 24-year-olds voted in the presidential election in 2020.

“The 2020 election where we saw record turnout for young people at 50%. That mean 50% of young people didn’t vote and we look at midterms and voter participation is even less although we’re seeing an increase in young people voting, they still significantly don’t show up at the polls,” ASU professor Thom Reilly said.

Are young voters energized for 2022? We spent time at Arizona State University talking to students about the issues they care most about.

“One of the biggest thing would have to be the education system, getting higher quality education for our youth and making sure they have the things they need to purse stuff they want to,” ASU freshman Adam Barwick said.

“Abortion rights, LGBTQ+ rights and human trafficking,” ASU student Hannah Hagerty said when listing the three issues she’s most passionate about.

Some ASU students we spoke with aren’t registered to vote or don’t plan to. Reilly says there’s a number of reasons why some young people don’t vote.

“Voting, some people have argued is habit forming. As you get older, more of your friends and peers vote and you start voting, but particularly the first time you vote can be a little difficult, the other issue is that young people may be in situations where they’re not really deeply rooted in their community, right? So midterms may be a big impact,” Reilly said.