Huge Spike in Turnout Among Texans Under 30 Signals Coming Sea Change in State’s Electoral Politics

A huge spike in turnout among younger Texas voters in this year’s midterms signals a rising progressive tide in the state’s electoral politics. Check out our press release analyzing what happened in the Texas midterm elections last night.


Rising, Diverse Generation Is the Future of a More Progressive Texas

November 7, 2018

AUSTIN – Below the topline election results last night, a huge spike in turnout among younger Texas voters in this this year’s midterms signals a rising progressive tide in the state’s electoral politics, Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said today.

“Last night we saw the beginnings of a historic sea change in Texas, and a rising and very diverse generation of younger voters is driving that change,” said Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller. “That’s the result of a lot of hard work to register and get to the polls young, progressive Texans who typically don’t turn out. As their numbers grow in coming elections, the politics in this state will shift.”

Early and absentee voting among Texans ages 18-29 rose by more than 500 percent this year over 2014, according to technology and consulting firm TargetSmart. Preliminary exit polling data reported by ABC News last night show that voters under 30 broke for a strongly progressive Beto O’Rourke over Republican Senator Ted Cruz 71-29 percent. In 2014, that age group supported Republican Senator John Cornyn 48-42 percent. Moreover, about 22 percent of voters this year said they cast a ballot for the first time, and they supported O’Rourke 52-45 percent.

“The future of Texas is a rising generation that looks different and sees the world very differently than the generations before it,” Miller said. “These election results show they care far more about polices that promote progressive values like economic and social justice in Texas than they do appeals designed to promote anger and fear. From everything we’ve seen in the field and at the polls, they’re ready to take a hammer to the political status quo in this state.”

Texas Rising, a TFN program supporting social justice on at least 20 college and university campuses and in surrounding communities, has mobilized and trained hundreds of young, progressive activists across the state in voter registration and get-out-the-vote work. The work has included:

  • Registering tens of thousands of new potential voters under 30
  • Engaging in an intensive get-out-the-vote effort targeting 100,000 Texans under 30, with 250,000 voter contacts through text- and phone-banking, tabling, campus-based events and old-fashioned door-knocking
  • Building a list of potential voters through peer-to-peer outreach and a digital advertising campaign on multiple platforms that targeted millions of voters under the age of 30

Younger Americans are more racially, ethnically and religiously diverse than older Americans, according to the Pew Research Center. They also tend to have more progressive views on a host of issues, including racial and economic equality, immigration reform, LGBT rights and abortion.


Texas Freedom Network is a grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom and individual liberties. Texas Rising, sponsored by TFN, brings together young, diverse, politically engaged activists working to build a grassroots movement for Texans under 30 through community organizing, electoral politics and public policy advocacy.