The Youth Vote: Who Really Gets It?

March 15, 2011

With young people under 30 making up more than 40 percent of the U.S. population, both political parties are looking to young people to help sway the next election, and help move their agendas forward right now. Two recent articles spotlight the parties' focus on young people.

What do you think? Does either party really get the Youth Vote? Do they both?

WILLIAMS: How the GOP can capture the youth vote next year

HILLWriting in a March 13, 2011 editorial in The Hill, Fox News Commentator Juan Williams says now is the time for Republicans to reach out to youth and "define a pro-youth agenda."

As Congress debates the federal budget, Williams writes, the discussion has largely focused on an agenda "skewed to the older crowd," ignoring (or, indeed, cutting) areas that young people say are priorities, from funding job training to supporting education.

JW"During the first two years of his presidency, Obama has overhauled federal student loan programs, budgeted $30 billion in the stimulus to make college more affordable and, as part of the new healthcare law, has given young people the right to stay on their parents’ insurance plan up to the age of 26.

"Yet, in a curious twist of political fate, congressional Republicans are now positioned to win over young voters heading to 2014," Williams writes.

A recent Pew Research Center study found that in 2009, the share of voters ages 18 to 29 calling themselves Democrats shrank slightly from year before, while 10 percent more called themselves Republican.

Those in the Millennial genration (under age 30), are the "demographic colossus of America. But so far they have not flexed their muscles to rattle the pillars of American politics."

Read the full commentary >>


White House Seeks to Re-Connect to Young Voters

POSTA March 13, 2011 Washington Post article reports that "twenty months before Election Day, and even before the president officially opens his campaign office, Obama and his White House team are launching a number of efforts to reconnect with the young voters who were among his most fervent supporters in 2008 — but who have soured somewhat on the president since."

Obama"The White House announced a plan last week to hold at least 100 roundtables this spring at which administration officials will meet with young people. The administration also will solicit ideas from young people through a series of national conference calls, Web chats and other forums. In addition, the White House enlisted Kalpen Modi [a 33-year-old actor known as Kal Penn] ... as its top youth liaison."

"The early and aggressive outreach is an indication of how much has changed among young voters in a little more than two years — and how far Obama has to go to rekindle the energy of one of his most politically important constituencies," according to the Post article.

The roundtables and visits by top officials are "unrelated to partisan politics and designed solely to connect young people and their ideas with the administration," according to a White House spokesperson quoted in the article.

The roundtables have included Republican and Democratic students.

Read the full article >>


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