Several factors such as the War in Iraq, the Internet, communications technology, acceptance of diversity, and youth voter registration have come together to amplify the effect that the younger voters can have on the outcome of the presidential election to be held in November 2008.
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 Obamas talent. I have not seen young people as excited about a candidate, including Dean. Hes just on a different level. Hes 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 of the eligible voters. Even if the youth vote continues to register and turnout at the increasing rate that weve seen in the past 2 elections, the increase will only amount to about 2 percent of the popular vote.4 Two percentage points will be critical in swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. Still, Obama needs more than just a large turnout; he needs widespread youth appeal. Capturing the lions 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