One thing that has ignited younger voters in 2008 is the presence of an energetic young candidate named Barak Obama. As early as October 2007 there was some speculation on the on the importance of the youth vote to the young presidential candidate. At that time, Gordon Fischer, Former Iowa Democratic Party Chairman, commented, "In all my many years of political activity I have not seen a candidate with Obama's talent. I have not seen young people as excited about a candidate, including Dean. He's just on a different level. He's so energized young people".1 Indeed, the energy has paid off. To begin his bid for the White House, Obama garnered 57 percent of the voters under 30 years of age in the Iowa caucuses.2 This was in a race against two other experienced and nationally known opponents, and a field of several lesser known candidates
Voter turnout among the age group of 18-24 years of age is the fastest growing age bracket, though their turnout in 2004 was still below the figures for the older groups.3 There is the additional problem in that the voters under 30 only represent less than 20 percent o...
Still, Obama needs more than just a large turnout; he needs widespread youth appeal. Capturing the lion's share of the voters under 30 years of age can make a significant difference in the fall, and may tip the balance in his favor, if he can capture their vote.
One of the factors that Obama has going in his favor is the capacity of younger people to master technology, and the Obama campaign's ability to focus on it. Mobile communications, the Internet, and text messaging have become increasingly important to presidential candidates. The ones that understand it best have the best chance of winning. While newspapers, mailings, and telephone canvassing have been the traditional method of getting out the vote, younger people today rely on less traditional and more modern methods of communication. In fact, though voters make up only 20 percent of the eligible voters, they represent 50 percent of the bloggers. In addition, web sites that appeal to youth such as You-Tube are playing an ever more significant part in disseminating political information. Obama's organization, and their network of blogs, text messaging, and feedback, have made it possible to stay on the crest of the issues that are on the minds of young voters. A recent study conducted at Princeton University reported that the voter's reaction to e-mail was generally negative, while text messaging did not suffer from the same phenomena.5 By utilizing new communications media, the Obama campaign can reach the youth bloc without alienating these important voters.
Of course, reaching the young voters is only effective when the candidate can raise issues and advocate policies that are favorable to youth. In 2004, John Kerry devoted