Politicos talk about the youth vote this year.

In the Rapid City Journal this morning, the politicos are talking about youth voting trends. Of course, each one is pointing out how they are king of the hill when it comes to youth support:
Mark Lopez, CIRCLE's research director, said the youth vote in South Dakota always surpasses the national average.

The national average was 22 percent in 2002, and South Dakota's was 36 percent, he said.

Wetz said young people are becoming aware of politics and sometimes know more than some older voters.

Political operatives believe young voter turnout will affect results this year.

"From what I hear from (young voters), I think we will have a higher rate of their votes this year because the other parties have tended to disorient young voters," Andre Agar, chairman of the South Dakota Libertarian Party, said.

"And, I have noticed that inquiries from young voters have outpaced previous years for us as a party probably because our principles of less government are appealing, and the growing bureaucracy is becoming so self-evident."

The South Dakota Democratic Party is in the running with young voters because it embraces technology, Donald Carr, the party's communication director, said.

"This year, we are doing a lot of things to reach out to young voters in a language they understand," Carr said, adding that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Billion's has a page on Facebook.com, and the party also has podcasts.

Billion usually gets about 500 downloads when he does a podcast, Carr said
Read it all here.

If you haven't noticed, the Libertarians and the Democrats have two of the older candidates on the ballot. What makes them think their candidates are going to appear appealing, and dare say it, "hip" to the youth vote? Arguably, Mike Rounds is the youngest on the ballot. And while I don't think he's actively courting the podcast crowd as Billion is, I think he's likely to appeal to a broader base of the youth vote for simply one reason - his relative youth.

Now, if you really want to energize the youth vote, you need a younger candidate like a John Thune or a Stephanie Herseth - look at all the young people who flock to those campaigns. Why? Because they're younger, dummy.

Now, I don't think embracing new technlogy is a bad thing (since you're reading this on my own blog). It's one tool of comunication. But if you're going to go after a significant segment of the population, you need to do more than simply do a podcast and a blog. You need to actively court them.

And has anyone noticed any candidates actively courting 18-29 year olds? Not that I can tell. Why? They don't go out and vote in the largest numbers. As opposed to seniors who will even vote on their deathbeds, the youth vote isn't significantly engaged in the process yet. That doesn't happen with regularity until they get older.

I think if a candidate wants to actively court the youth vote, they'd need to dedicate speakers to that segment of the population and do campus rallies, etcetera. You'd have to dedicate serious time and resources to it that most candidates don't have, unless you're at a congressional level or above.

So, what can you take from this? I have serious doubts whether or not just doing a blog or a podcast is going to bring them in part and parcel.


DakotaDemocrat said…
You are right on this one, PP.

In 2004, Kerry courted and courted and courted the youth vote. They talked about the impact it was going to make. The news ran coverage about how he's going to kill Bush on the youth vote.

Reality? Almost negiglible compared to 2000.

You are not going to see big time candidates on college campuses regularly. You guys think college is a communist endeavor, and we've been burned by it too often. If we go there, we're wasting money.

For the exact reasons you talked about it.

Spot on, PP. Spot on.
Anonymous said…
One thing I might suggest; however, is supporting the College Republicans/Democrats on campus. There are groups at most colleges who are passionate about politics and will readily support candidates. I think if a governor's campaign coordinated efforts with these groups it would take few resources and might have something of an impact. Although, I may not know the truth in this... One thing I do know is that Tom Daschle (granted a liberal who fits in at school very easily) came to my campus and several people decided to support him right there.
Anonymous said…
I got a fundraising call from the College Republicans. It was awful. I'm sorry, we all aren't simplistic and scared of gays. A lot of the kids pulled into these groups as I recall were nuts, on both sides and those I still see or hear about today are just as nutty. Some out of Salem.
jeffymom said…
The youth vote is hard to capture. It doesn't vote as a bloc. They often are one-issue voters, and they don't agree what that one issue should be. They up to the polls if it's convenient.

The only issue that united USD students during my college years was when the city council wanted to add an additional beer tax.
Haggs said…
I disagree that most young people would vote for Rounds just because he's younger. Younger voters tend to be generally more progressive than older voters. Rounds' signing of the abortion ban might have hurt him with younger voters.

The local Canton paper carries the high school paper every few weeks. After Rounds signed it, a high school senior wrote an editorial about how that was wrong. Since she was a senior, I'm guessing she's able to vote.

Is that the kind of vote Rounds expects to get?

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