In Colorado, appeal to young voters worked
December 26, 2008
DENVER ” All those text messages and campus rallies apparently worked. The youth vote in last month’s presidential election hit a state record, with voters under 30 outvoting what is historically the most reliable voting bloc: voters over 65.
Elections records show a whopping 61 percent voter turnout last month among registered Coloradans under 30. That group made up 19.2 percent of the overall electorate in Colorado, more than the 16.5 percent of the turnout made up of people over 65, figures show.
The key youth demographic group was wooed through text message, e-mail and blog. The rising youth vote in Colorado mirrored what elections results are showing nationwide: young people voted at levels not seen since 1972, when 18-year-olds first got the vote.
“The youth vote had a huge impact,” Crisanta Duran, president of the Colorado Young Democrats, told the Rocky Mountain News.
Young voters appear to have favored President-elect Barack Obama, potentially sealing his victory. Nationally, nearly 53 percent of voters under age 30 cast ballots, and 66 percent of those backed President-elect Barack Obama, said Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
Even the GOP has conceded Colorado Democrats did a better job using technology to reach young voters. Republicans “clearly have to improve our voter contact through technology,” state GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams said.
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Sixteen percent of under-30 voters who supported Obama reported getting a text, e-mail or phone call from his campaign, Levine said. Only 4 percent of young McCain voters said the same, the newspaper reported.
Political activists say their job now is to keep those young voters engaged even after a hot presidential election.
“Nobody’s going to overlook young voters anymore,” said Lori Weigel, a pollster with the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies. “That being said, if they don’t show up in 2010, then that’s going to be a different story.”