Thursday, November 9th, 2006

Apathy :: Dead

Youth turned out for the mid-term elections in the largest numbers in 20 years.

Joe Garofoli writes on the front page of today’s Chronicle:

18-to-29-year-olds were compelled to vote because of one of the oldest media tactics: Somebody asked them, often in person.

Of course, many were angry with the direction President Bush has taken the country and wanted change, according to a bipartisan exit poll from a youth voter organization. Put the two factors together — and add the growing influence of new media tools — and some analysts say a generation of young voters is solidifying into a Democratic voting bloc.

“The 2006 elections show that Republican campaigns must mobilize their base of young voters to win,” said GOP pollster Ed Goeas, who conducted the poll of 500 18-to-29-year-olds with Democratic pollster Celinda Lake for Young Voter Strategies in Washington, D.C. The nonpartisan organization is a project of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University.

Tuesday “proved that young voters can and will be a force in elections,” Goeas said. “Of the 28 seats in the House of Representatives that changed hands so far, 22 were won by less than 2 percent of the vote, 18 by 5,000 or less votes, and 4 by less than 1,000 votes.”

(Here’s a full list of related articles.)

You want to know how it happened? Just check the League of Young Voters site. In Ohio, they knocked on 50,000 doors. In Pennsylvania, they ran a massive registration and GOTV and election protection campaign, and backed up those efforts on the ground in Maryland, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Florida, Maine, Missouri, Connecticut, and California. Not a few of those states turned on very thin margins–all made by young voters.

The Dems did not do this. The Reeps did not do this. Young people did it for themselves.

The result? Evan Derkacz at WireTap Blog says that young people made up 13% of the vote the other day, yet another surge along the lines of what we saw in 2004. (Check the CNN exit polls here.)

I have to admit it’s wonderful to see all the old pundits and their brainwashed young followers (beginning with NPR and extending all the way to the alt-weeklies) who have been bemoaning the waste of “apathetic youth” eating a large serving of crow along with Rumsfeld and Bush.

Unrelated note for t-shirt junkies: you’ll see an ad at Wiretap for the very last Origin limited edition Can’t Stop Won’t Stop tees there too. Mike found a precious few in his garage and he’s selling them now.

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