Live-blogging Midmorning: The youth vote

We did a show along these lines in Denver and, man, was it quiet. Of course, that was summer and the youth vote was still sleeping.

Seriously, is the youth vote real or a mirage?

Our guests are: Jonathan Darman, Senior Writer and Political Correspondent for Newsweek. His essay is called “Ask Not What You Can Do for Barack Obama.”

Jonathan Chavez, cofounder and director of analytics and social sphere strategies. Consultant to the institute of politics at Harvard and coauthor of their 15th annual Biannual Youth Survey on Politics and Public Service.

10:05 a.m. – Kerri is gleeful as she looks at the ages of those already waiting on the phone. Everyone is in their 20s.

10:06 a.m. – Here’s the deal. A Gallup poll this month showed high voter registration among young voters, and that Obama leads in this demographic, but there’s a question of how many will actually vote?

  • What should young voters demand?
  • Have you decided not to vote? Why?
  • What’s the issue that’s at the top of your mind as you vote?

    10:10 a.m. – In the past the “youth vote” has failed to show up at the polls. Chavez says that’s changing because it’s easier for this “mobile population” to register. The cost of turning out an 18-24 year old — for campaigns — was three times the cost of turning out a 65 year old. Chavez says campaigns using social networking has made it much cheaper “to reach this generation than it’s ever been in the past.”

    Tangent time: Check out the Twitter vote report.

    10:15 a.m. Commenter:


    Student loans are outrageous. We won’t be able to own a home in the future. There will be no Social Security for us. Our infrastructure is going to fall apart just in time for us to take care of it. The environment….sigh …. where do I even begin?

    10:18 a.m. – Link and quote. The Sunday Herald says in a nation getting younger, this time the youth vote really counts.


    The late Hunter S Thompson was not surprised. “We rocked the vote all right,” he said. “Those little bastards betrayed us again.” In all his time covering politics, starting with George McGovern’s failed 1972 attempt to surf a wave of youthful enthusiasm to the White House, Thompson had learned never to trust students at the ballot box.

    10:20 a.m. Darman says the youth vote is more engaged now, not just by registering, but they watch more news shows, too. We’re including The Daily Show, right?

    10:22 a.m. – So far “economy” and “health care” seems to be the big issues. Also education. It’s interesting to me that two out of those three did not significantly come up in three U.S. Senate debates in Minnesota. And so it occurs tome that there’s really no mechanism for getting those concerns into the campaign dialogue, even as the candidates are said to be making great inroads in reaching the demographics.

    10:26 a.m. – Can the concerns of 18-29 year olds get into the dialogue. Darman is skeptical and he says — he’s 27 by the way — the issues that demographic is concenred about are not the same as their parents. “We not thinking of them as a special interest group,” he says. He wrote a piece in Newsweek that said young people should not be afraid to ask what a president can do for them. “Get selfish before it’s too late.”

    10:36 a.m. – Here’s the biannual youth survey that keeps getting mentioned on today’s show.

    10:37 a.m. - One issue I’m anxious to examine — do young voters have a sense of optimism to the future? Starting in January, I’ll be hitting 8 campuses of the MnSCU system, blogging every Wednesday, and finding the life stories there.

    10:41 a.m. – Commenter:


    “In WI, I could register same day. Here I found out you have to register almost a month in advance.”

    That’s not true. If you want to register in advance, there is a cutoff. But you can register on Tuesday.

    10:46 a.m. – A young voter talk about the difference between 2000 and 2008. Back then, he says, “it was a good time but didn’t get much done.” More protests, more ‘let Nader vote.” Now, he says, the youth voter is more “rational.” “If anyone turns out, it will be this crop,” he says, sounding like a grizzled voting vet at age 29.

    He says race is not an issue for this generation. A recent survey said otherwise, by the way. The New York Times had a good article a few weeks ago that said while the generation is said to be color-blind, “black” is still a factor.

    10:51 a.m. – Is Daily Show a factor? Eh. Chavez says people who are already engaged are watching and it has some impact — Obama is on Daily Show tonight, but he’s tried to measure the role of satire in a campaign and it’s been difficult.