November 11, 2008

Duke Chronicle: Youth voters tune in, turn out in 2008

On the University of Colorado-Boulder campus, support for Obama within the student population was loud. Since the first day of classes in August, it was impossible to walk to class without being harassed by hip registration volunteers in Buddy Holly glasses every couple of steps. Not a corner of the university was safe from stickers, chalkings, T-shirts, pins, and spray paint art with Obama’s face or name and trendy slogans like “Change is fresh!” or “Barack is my homeboy!”  Some of my fellow students cringe at the campaign’s marketing of voting. All of a sudden, it’s cool to vote?

I say, whatever. I’m not bothered by an appeal to the college student who is perpetually in search of a radically bohemian, yet socially acceptable (and pop-culturally competent) political identity. I felt deep integrity among my Obama-supporting peers. And besides, it is cool to vote!! 

Jamie Friedland from Duke University analyzes the youth vote election impact:

Obama’s campaign pursued the youth vote much more actively than McCain’s. I knew this intuitively, but I wanted to see if I could quantify this assertion. Yes I can: There are 23 special “coalition” pages on McCain’s Web site. Although bikers (leather, not spandex), racing fans and lawyers were important enough to get their own pages, students were not. Even Lebanese Americans got their own page. Now I have nothing against Lebanese Americans — unlike McCain, I never implied that “Arab” could have negative connotations — but the fact that McCain’s Web site would court a decidedly minor demographic and not students is absurd. If ever there was a demographic to appeal to online… But my quest for quantification continued.”

To view the rest of Jamie’s article click here



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