President Obama was re-elected Tuesday night thanks to wins in just about every state he was projected to hold, including the all-important Ohio. Early polling also suggested that Obama was helped to victory over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in part thanks to support among young (18-29) voters.
With that demographic projected to make up 19 percent of the electorate in Tuesday's election — a figure up 1 percentage point from 2008 — Obama was expected to pull out a 24-point win over Romney with those voters, 60 to 36 percent.
According to early exit polling from CNN, the figures were good news for Democrats, as those youth may have tipped the scales in some key states. But the flip side of that electoral coin was that, compared to 2008, the youth vote slipped nearly 10 percentage points from that year's 66 percent figure.
In what could be a bright spot on the way to 270 electoral votes, exit polls projected that Obama's figures among 18 to 29-year-old voters in Ohio and Florida were expected to rise over 2008 figures. In Ohio, his lead was up nearly 5 percent over his 2008 numbers to 29 points, beating Romney 63 to 34 percent, while in Florida he was up by a wider margin, winning that age group 67 to 31 percent, versus the 61 to 37 percent margin against Senator John McCain last time around.
As predicted, Romney was projected to win the white vote 52 to 44 percent, while Obama's lead among black and Latino voters was wide, 91 to 9 percent and 72 to 25 percent, respectively.
The Tufts University youth research group CIRCLE is teaming with Rock the Vote to release a breakdown Wednesday of the role played by young voters in this year's election. "The role young people would play during this election has been a major question in American politics for over a year, and it seems the answer is that they have been as big a force at the polls in 2012 as in 2008," said CIRCLE Director Peter Levine in a statement released shortly after the election was called in favor of Obama. "They again supported President Obama, although not as lopsidedly as in 2008. Until tomorrow, it will be unclear whether youth turnout — or the turnout of any group — rose or fell, but young people were proportionately well represented in the 2012 electorate."
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