Results of a study performed by CIRCLE underscored the importance of promoting political awareness among the youths to encourage political participation. According to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), as global communities are currently in a digital age where everyone uses social media and other digital platforms, incorporating political information in education curriculums can help young voters who participate for the first time.
Since the 2016 presidential election, the count of people who turned 18 was over 15 million; but not all exercised their right to vote in the 2016 presidential contest between Trump and Clinton. The scenario was different in the recently concluded 2020 presidential election, where polls and political analysts concluded that young voters played an important role in catapulting Joe Biden to victory.
Some studies revealed that even members of today’s young generation who have not yet reached the legal voting age, joined movements that encouraged youth engagement during elections. Young voters have even joined the anti-gun violence movement led by a group of youths, while others were are at the forefron of protests against racial discrimination.
Social Media Helped in Raising Political Awareness in Young People
Social media engagement was a significant factor in raising political awareness among young voters especially in the 2020 presidential election where youth turnout was exceptionally high.
In a poll carried out by CIRCLE, the results showed that many of the young voters acquired information about the voting process from their families, friends, social media sites, news websites, and other types of communication networks. The results revealed the following related statistics on where new young voters acquired information about voting processes in the U.S.:
- 61% from Family;
- 58% from Roommates and/or Friends;
- 57% from News Websites;
- 57% from Instagram;
- 52% from Video-Streaming platforms like YouTube;
- 49% from Public Television;
- 46% from Twitter;
- 45% from Facebook;
- 34% from Snapchat;
- 31% from Podcasts or Radio Channels;
- 31% from Print News Media;
- 29% from Celebrities or Famous Personalities followed at social media sites
- 5% from Snail Mail
Furthermore, the poll learned about the political interests of young voters between the 18-21 age group. Most of the young respondents said they are politically active and interested in political issues. Many of the respondents also answered that they believe the outcomes of the election can affect the conditions in their communities and that the young generation, through political participation, can help create social changes.
CIRCLE Poll Gained Insights on the Younger Generation’s Political Interest
Through the poll, CIRCLE researchers learned that many of today’s breed of young voters are youths who used their own social media account as a source of information about topics that they think are not adequately covered by news outlets.
Around 41% said they posted Instagram content about current events, politics, and social issues. Additionally, about 21% said they posted frequently and fairly often. This aspect proved very helpful as related studies showed that had they not done so, news about online voter registration during the pandemic would not have reached the fresh batch of legal-aged voters.
The poll also discovered that if not for social media accounts, political campaigns would not have reached the younger generations of voters who do not have access to college campuses.
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