November 19th, 2007
12:33 PM ET
11 years ago

Will courting the youth vote help in '08?

(CNN) - If you graze the Web, it certainly seems like America's 20-somethings have a loud and powerful voice when it comes to pushing presidential candidates.

Perhaps none are as loud as Republican Ron Paul's young fans. They have been creatively effective online, parlaying their passion into cold hard cash for Paul's campaign and raising his profile.

But, Ron Paul aside, the Democrats boast that they have youth on their side in droves.

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soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Lance in Monrovia

    Obama is capturing the essence of America, and that includes the youth vote. He's the most like us. He's not an old, stuffy white guy with a trophy wife. He's got fresh ideas and he speaks in language that young people can identify with.

    Obama, much like the youth of America, is our future.

    It's unwise to count either of them out, because they're both forces to be reckoned with.

    November 19, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. David, Gilbert Arizona

    There are some pretty interesting comments posted here regarding youth voting.

    Of the youth I know many of them are not even registered to vote. Of those that are registered the majority only vote in the general election. None that I have asked vote during the primaries. None vote during the local elections either.

    I find it very telling that some of the comments discuss the hardship of voting.

    For example: "Most students that can vote must obtain an absentee ballot, and frankly, that is the last thing on our minds."

    The above quote is very telling. People of my age demographic are parents and homeowners. We juggle a full time job with trying to provide a quality life for our families and yet we find time to vote.

    Some people claim the youth are disillusioned by the entire election process. So I must ask this question: How does not voting change the process?

    I don't buy many of the excuses given regarding the youth vote. If you want to make a change then you must vote. If you don't vote you have absolutely no voice.

    It is not the individual vote that makes the difference. If the youth got out and voted as a block, just like other interest groups do, they could make a huge impact on U.S. politics. It boggles my mind why this doesn't happen.

    November 19, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. Mia, Stafford, VA

    Dave from Atlanta – Democrats don't raise taxes on the poor and middle class, they usually raise it on the upper middle class and the wealthy. So if you are struggling to finish school it will be quite some time before you reach that bracket where the tax increases will affect you. Actually you would be the most likely person to benefit.

    Just something to think about.

    November 19, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  4. Alex, Indiana and Texas

    I may be alone here, but the stigma associated with youth voting appears mythical, or at least distorted. After all, over half of the country does not vote. Surely this is not entirely the fault of youths. Indeed, it seems that as time progresses, voting statistics in every age group tend to decrease. Yet it would be quite surprising to read a story specifically addressing the declining numbers in another age group. The 'youth' seem to be the only classification that enjoys such a distinction. And furthermore, we are dubbed lazy or apathetic because of it. Well, I am not quite convinced that my age or generation is to blame more than disinterest in American politics by Americans in general. Moreover, the purveyors of the lazy youth stigma work only to desensitize and discourage further participation by myself and my apparently lackluster peers.

    I vote and many of my friends vote: not only for presidents, but for bills passed in our local cities and townships as well. I also have friends who have no interest in politics and couldn't care less what their tax rates happen to be. Maybe it's just me, but I have the suspicion that as I get a job, perhaps form a family, and retire, I will still have friends who vote and friends who do not. Their age will have nothing to do with it. The only thing that will change is that my friends who do not vote now will be called lazy, while 20 years from now they will be ignored.

    In short, I cannot wait until my generation hits 30 and magically becomes hardworking and politically compassionate. We will have earned it after a decade of empty verbal abuse.

    November 19, 2007 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. ronnie - knoxville tn

    the only problem is that "young voters" talk a big game, but don't turn out

    November 19, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  6. therealist

    Democrats have laid claim to the youth vote ever since the flower children of the sixties, now running the DNC, and have lost most of those elections..

    November 19, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  7. Cory, Pennsylvania

    David from Gilbert, Arizona:

    I understand where you're coming from when you speak of people in your age demographic having a lot on your mind as well, however it is truly difficult for my peers and I (even though I do always vote) to see how voting affects us.

    The process of obtaining an absentee ballot could be better. When I was a freshmen in college, I had no idea where to go in order to get an absentee ballot.

    Also, maybe this is me thinking crazy or too much outside of the box, but a lot of my peers might have the mentality that if their parents vote, then that is a vote for them as well since sometimes college students still rely heavily on their parents. I can almost guarantee that the young people that do vote are independent and have a better background in the importance of voting....

    November 19, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  8. a.thomas, new york, ny

    For sure it helps. Obama just promise free community education to young voters.

    November 19, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  9. cicilia,nashua,nh

    I think many of the younger generation were disillusioned by the elections of 2000 and 2004 when they saw such things as Supreme Court act for all purposes and intents as a kingmaker, as well as the action of the Swift Boat Liars for Bush.

    Or to quote John Mayer "it's not that we don't care; we just know that the fight ain't fair".
    Posted By Samuel, Lincoln, Nebraska : November 19, 2007 4:58 p


    I totally agree with you. I think this country was mered by that election and given that young people like shows, they watched a free one and could not comprehend why should adults do that. They just find it insincere and think their votes don't count since there is going to be rigging after no matter what you do.
    I am 21 years old. If I can buy liqour and cigarettes the why not vote this time and try out a new person hoping no rigging that will happen this time around

    November 20, 2007 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  10. RuthieM

    I couldn't wait to cast my very first vote, oh how excited I was to vote, to have a voice in the system! I can't understand how any young person cannot be interested in giving their voice to their own country. Is it lazyness or what? If it is they shouldn't have anything to say when things don't go their way in their own country. If they want a change, as Malcolm X said, "It's the bullet or the ballot".

    November 20, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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