What: 2 pager by Young Voter Strategies
When: Sometime in 2006
MV Reading Notes:
Great summary of young voters demographic profile. Gen Y is most diverse generation in history. On way to becoming a force in elections. Turnout has increased substantially in 2004 and 2006. When comparing presidential to presidential election – and midterm to midterm, the numbers of young voters have been growing steadily since 2000 [and this is the right comparison to make since its apples to apples].
In 2008: there will be 50 million young voters (18-31yrs old) or approximately 22% of voting age population
- 35 million more GenYers (9-17) will become voters in next several years
- When all reach voting age, will number 82 million or 36% of the population
- 1/3rd of the electorate by 2015
- 61% white, 18% Hispanic, 14% African American, 5% Asian.
- 2000: 15.9m votes cast, 40% of 18-29 yrs olds
- 2002: 8.9m votes, 22% [midterm]
- 2004: 20.1m votes, 49%
- 2006: 10m votes, 24 % [midterm]
What’s amazing to me is that young people have been ignored as a voting block for so long. I was just reading an article about how in 2006, campaigns focused most of their efforts on voters aged 30+. While it makes a lot of sense to spend a good deal of attention on the voters who have a proven voting record, it makes little sense to ignore young people (for one, they have a proven voting record as these YVS stats show).
You know, there’s this giant amount of oil deep in the Colorado Rockies. Scientists are working around the clock to figure out how to extract it. It’s tricky business, because the oil shale needs to be heated up in order to release its bounty – and then the oil has to be pumped up to the surface without contaminating underground water supplies. They’re building giant ice walls, complex underground heaters, and all kinds of new drilling technology. Why are they going through all of this trouble? Because, the oil shale formation in the Green River Basin is the largest fossil fuel deposit in the world – it’s got more than triple the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.
In the world of politics, there’s another untapped national resource: the youth vote. The thing is, if this resource were oil, it’d be like a giant surface pool. It’s just not that difficult for a campaign to get to it. Certainly not when compared to the extraordinary efforts in Colorado. It’s a matter of listening, making a good faith effort to incorporate youth concerns into campaign positions, and then asking for their vote. The case for seeking the youth vote is so cut and dry, it’s a wonder that in 2006 we’re still reading stories about campaigns ignoring young people.
For info on voting and registration head to: http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/voting.html
[this report clearly shows that the first hurdle in accessing the youth vote is voter registration]