While Obama carried the youth vote overall, his support declined from 2008 among all young voters and among key subgroups. In particular, Obama lost ground among young whites, men and independents.
Only 44% of white voters under 30 backed Obama, while 51% voted for Romney. This is a substantial change compared with 2008, when Obama carried the young white vote by 10 points (54% to 44%). Far more young blacks and Hispanics backed Obama than Romney, and there was little fall off in his support among these groups from 2008.
Obama also lost support among young men. Overall, 53% of men under 30 supported Obama, down from 62% in 2008. Fully 66% of young women voted for Obama, similar to the 69% who voted for him in 2008.
However, Obama lost support among both white men and women. Overall, 41% of white men supported Obama while 54% supported Romney. In 2008, Obama won the vote among white men, 52% to 46%. While white women voted for Obama over McCain by a 56% to 42% margin four years ago, they were divided this year (48% voted for Obama, 49% for Romney).
Surprisingly, Obama’s vote also declined among young black men, by 14 points, while holding steady among young black women.But he still carried the overall youth vote because it is becoming less and less white:
The racial and ethnic composition of young voters has shifted dramatically over the last four presidential elections. Just 58% of voters age 18-29 identified as white non-Hispanics, while 18% were Hispanic, 17% were African American and 7% identified as mixed-race or some other race. The share of young voters who are white has declined 16 points since 2000, when 74% of voters under 30 identified as white and 26% identified as nonwhite (including 12% who were African American and 10% Hispanic).
This stands in sharp contrast to older voters. Fully 76% of voters 30 and older were white, down only six points from 2000. Only 24% of voters 30 and older were nonwhite, including 12% who identified as black and 8% as Hispanic.