Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Voting research -- United States, Voting -- United States -- Statistics, Mayoral elections


Phil Keisling is director of the Center for Public Service at Portland State University in Oregon, which recently conducted research on who votes in mayoral elections with Knight Foundation support.

The last 10 to 20 years have been times of revitalization and progress for many of America’s big cities. While there are certainly exceptions, many major city downtowns have been revitalized, often with the money and energy of younger entrepreneurs. Committed and often well-educated “young creatives” have helped turn many urban cores into desirable places to live, work, and raise families.

But as much as younger residents have often played a catalyzing role in major cities’ economic and cultural lives, they’ve essentially abdicated to their grandparents’ generation when it comes to that most basic of civic indicators: voting.


A Portland State University pilot research study to determine who casts ballots—and who doesn’t—in 4 U.S. Cities: Charlotte, Detroit, Portland, and St. Paul.

More information about this study can be found here:

Summary sheet and presentation are included in the Additional Files below

Individual city reports can be found here:

Persistent Identifier

Powerpoint Who Votes.pdf (3370 kB)
Report summary slides

WVFM_OnePager_National.pdf (1136 kB)
One-page summary of the complete results