In a November 10 Wall Street Journal opinion editorial piece, New Republic editor in chief Martin Peretz repeated a misconception regarding youth voter turnout in the 2004 election. Attacking the "elites" who supported Senator John Kerry and who, he claims, disdain "the misbehaving populace," Peretz wrote that there was no "increase in the raw [youth] vote nor its disposition towards Mr. Kerry." But he was wrong on both counts. Young voters (aged 18-29) did turn out in significantly increased numbers, and they voted for Senator John Kerry over President George W. Bush by a margin of 54 percent to 44 percent.
As Media Matters for America noted (when NBC and MSNBC host Chris Matthews, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, and FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly made similar claims), The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), a nonpartisan research group, found a 9.3 percent increase in voter turnout among 18- to 29-year-olds, based on national exit polls. Unlike in 2000, when the youth vote was split almost evenly between Bush and then-Vice President Al Gore (48 percent to 46 percent), voters under 30 voted for Kerry by a margin of 54 percent to 44 percent nationwide and by 20 percentage points in California, according to a November 3 Knight Ridder Newspapers report.