PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Some political analysts think young people are becoming a more influential part of the American electorate.
As KDKA political editor Jon Delano reports, something Taylor Swift did a few days ago seems to confirm that belief.
When Taylor Swift encouraged her followers on Instagram to register to vote last week and directed them to the non-partisan group, Vote.org, things exploded.
"The hour that she posted, we saw over a 1000% spike. That momentum really continued through the day, and by the end of the day, we had over 38,000 registrations that came through," according to Andrea Hailey, CEO of Vote.org.
But Hailey says what was particularly exciting was a 72% jump in the number of 18-year-olds registering more than a year ago and a general boost in young people registering overall.
"About 65% of the people using Vote.org are 35 and under, so we are really interacting with the next generation of voters who want to register on their phone, [and] take two minutes to register."
Pennsylvania's registration figures confirm a growing number of younger voters. Not long ago, voters 65 and over easily outnumbered the young, which is not so true today.
Voters under 35 are now 25% of the state's electorate, almost equal to voters 65 and over, currently 27% of the electorate.
Both Will Allison, president of College Democrats, and Dylan Mitchell, president of College Republicans at the University of Pittsburgh, say interest in voting has grown, largely because of issues that attract young people to one party over the other.
For the Democrats?
"A top issue is climate change. I think it affects everybody, but it certainly affects the youngest among us the most. And, additionally, abortion is a major one, especially after the striking down of Roe v. Wade. I think it became that much more real for people what an imminent threat to women's bodily autonomy that was," Allison said.
And the other side of the aisle?
"They might register Republican if they don't want high crime, they want law and order, if they don't want mass illegal immigration," Mitchell said. "They might register Republican if they don't want super high taxes. If they want to keep more of their paycheck that they work hard for at the end of the day."
Despite young voters registering more than ever, both parties are expected to nominate a rematch for two of the oldest candidates to ever run for president: Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
"We're moving into the future and our leaders are getting older, instead of younger. That doesn't really make sense," Mitchell added.
But that won't keep young people from voting, a trend that only seems to be growing.
"In the 2022 midterms, we saw higher turnout on Pitt's campus than we did in the 2020 general election, for a midterm compared to a presidential year," Allison said.
With the success of Taylor Swift in getting people to register, watch for more celebrities to do the same.
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