Continued from page 1

“They voted for Barack Obama by a huge margin, 66 [percent] to 32 percent. This is enormous by any previous comparison,” said Mr. Levine, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts.

Mr. Obama shattered the previous record held by President Reagan, who won 59 percent of the youth vote in his 1984 re-election landslide. President Clinton, by comparison, won 53 percent of that vote in his 1996 campaign. Statistics on the youth vote are only available since 1972, the year the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18.

Parallels between this year’s race and the 1984 election abound. Both featured a surge of coming-of-age voters energized by a movement candidate. In the 1984 case, most of those young voters who backed Mr. Reagan tended to remain in the conservative camp as they grew older.

“The big question mark is what happens next [during the Obama presidency],” Mr. Levine said. “Remember that Reagan was popular over his two terms.”