The polls tended to underestimate the youth vote impact. Young people were able to surprise the pollsters and pundits who have generally ignored this key segment. The fact is many young people will never be included in standard telephone surveys. Growing numbers of young people only have cell phones (which by law prohibit telemarketing and opinion polling.) Telephone surveys also miss people who screen calls or are not home at night. However, Obama was well aware of the potential power of the youth vote. He was able to reach out and tap their hopes for a better future. Read on to learn how he did it and what that means to the future of our world!!
Young people care deeply about the environment and the future of our planet. Once again, most people saw Bush and McCain’s policies as a threat to the environment. In fact, many young people resent the mindless consumerism our country promotes (as when Bush encouraged people to go shopping after 9/11). Many also are concerned with oil depletion, global warming, and other problems. Barack Obama appears able to address all these concerns in a much more credible and capable manner.
Young people resent the fact that our country is now so polarized. They blame McCain, Bush and Cheney for the negative climate of fear that permeates our culture. In fact, the strongest contrast for young people may have come during the vice presidential candidates. Young people were turned off by McCain who reminds some of Mr. Burns from the Simpsons. On the other hand, Obama represented youthful hope and humor (not unlike Bart Simpson.)
Most young people want the same things America’s founders wanted – rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Obama needs to restore more freedom of thought, expression, and lifestyle. Increasingly, young people express concerns over a number of Bush policies that violate individual rights. Many even want to “turn on, tune in and drop out” from a consumerist society that denigrates the rights of individuals through fear.
Concern over a military draft is growing on campuses with the prospects of a McCain presidency. Young people are looking for a leader who wants to “give peace a chance.” Young people also oppose the wasteful war on marijuana. The vast majority of young people have either tried weed or know people who smoke it with no ill effect. Most agree it is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. Obama needs to promise young people that his drug policies will focus on treatment for drug abusers, not prisons for drug users.
Just as the first JFK recognized, it is again time to pass the torch of freedom to a new generation. Barack Obama represents the same type of optimism and honesty that many young people respected in John F. Kennedy. Obama has spoken up for the rights of the young people. This generation is looking for inspiration and integrity from a candidate that understands their needs. Because Obama has been able to reach them he won the presidency.
Young voters had ‘record turnout,’ preferred Democrat by wide margin. Early reports are indicating that the youngest members of the country’s electorate voted Tuesday in higher numbers than in the last presidential election — and they voted more Democratic. Youth turnout appears to be exceeding 2004 levels, which was itself a year with a big surge in voters ages 18 to 29. “We expected record turnout, and that is what we’re seeing right now,” says Heather Smith, a spokeswoman for Rock the Vote, an organization that works to encourage young people to register and vote in every election.
What’s more, young voters may prove to have been the key to Barack Obama’s victory. Young voters preferred Obama over John McCain by 68 percent to 30 percent — the highest share of the youth vote obtained by any candidate since exit polls began reporting results by age in 1976, according to CIRCLE, a non-partisan organization that promotes research on the political engagement of Americans between ages 15 and 25. “It’s actually extraordinary,” says Peter Levine, the director of CIRCLE. Traditionally, young people tend to support the same candidate, by roughly the same percentage, as voters older than 30, although they might be “just a tick or two more Democratic,” he says. “But because they are so apparently tilted in one direction, turnout becomes the issue.” …
“The youth vote is turning states that Obama would’ve lost or barely won into more comfortable margins,” says John Della Volpe, the director of polling for the Harvard University Institute of Politics. “Not only are they voting in higher numbers, they’re voting more Democratic. Consistently throughout the country in key swing states, Obama is outperforming John Kerry’s performance (with young voters) from four years ago by two to three times the margin,” Della Volpe says, noting that on Tuesday night in Indiana, Obama was losing to McCain in every important demographic — except young voters. “In many states, the only significant electorate that Obama is winning is young people.” …
Della Volpe says that even months before Election Day, young voters had already made a difference for Obama. Obama owes his victory in the Iowa primary to young voters, he says. “Without that majority in the youth vote community, he wouldn’t have won Iowa. That increase in turnout and the significant margin that he had over Hillary really kind of set his campaign in motion.” In 2004, John Kerry won the youth vote by 9 points, says Della Volpe. “Obama’s going to probably triple that margin,” he predicts. Through a steady stream of texts and Twitters, experts agree Obama has managed to excite young voters by meeting them where they live — online.
“This is a group of people who are constantly checking in with everybody else in their circle to make a decision,” says Morley Winograd, the co-author of “Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics” and a former adviser to Vice President Al Gore. He defines Millennials as ages 18 to 26. “This is a generation that doesn’t tend to think about asking experts for opinion,” Winograd says. “They tend to ask each other, and then that becomes the truth.”
Winograd says that means no decision is made without dozens of e-mails, texts or Facebook messages to check whether an idea works for the whole group — anything from “Where should we hang out tonight?” to “Who should we vote for?” — which could explain why Millennials so firmly latched onto Obama’s message of unity, he says. “They are naturally inclined to be unified,” explains Michael D. Hais, who co-wrote “Millennial Makeover” with Winograd. “It’s the way they were reared; they were reared to believe that everyone has a role to play, everybody is the same and everybody should look for group-oriented solutions.”
History is usually a tale of cruelty and folly, but it can also double back on itself in ways that move beyond irony to-ward something that can feel a little redemptive. Standing in Chicago’s Grant Park with the throngs last Tuesday night, I flashed back to when I was standing on Michigan Avenue just across from the park 40 years ago, an 11-year-old clutching my mother’s hand as we escaped a bloody clash between police and demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
I can still remember the smell of stink bombs and the sound of angry young people chanting, “The whole world is watching!” The Democratic Party’s New Deal coalition ruptured right there. Now I’ve grown up and Chicago has grown up and the country has, too. The 1960s have been much maligned and for some good reasons. The acrimony of the era spawned the red-blue polarization Barack Obama argued against in his 2004 convention speech and transcended in his presidential campaign.
But just as Obama is part of what he calls the “Joshua Generation”—standing on the shoulders of the civil-rights pioneers—he is the beneficiary of the spirit of the ’60s among white baby boomers. The young people who came of age in the early part of that decade were inspired by the Kennedys and Martin Luther King Jr., who was stoned by angry whites in 1966 just for showing up in a Chicago neighborhood not far from where Obama lives now—a place where King, in the vernacular of the time, “didn’t belong.” These activists dreamed of a more just and peaceful world. …
Just as Franklin D. Roosevelt triumphed by mastering radio, these 20-somethings helped build Obama-world by exploiting the dominant new political tool of our time, the Web. The irony is that the dreams of liberal parents could only be achieved when they relinquished generational power. By the end, even Bill Clinton was ready to champion Obama as “the future.”
History will record that, like FDR in 1932 and Ronald Reagan in 1980, Obama won because the economy was bad. But big victories don’t guarantee successful presidencies. It wasn’t until Roosevelt and Reagan dented the problems of their day—made real change a reality—that they transformed American politics.
And so it will be for Obama. For now it’s enough that the retired cops and the one-time hippies, and the African-Americans and Hispanics whom the whites never used to talk to much, and all their children and grandchildren gathered together on the same side of the barriers in Grant Park, in a place where they all belonged, just as Obama had hoped. Once again, the whole world was watching, only this time with a glad heart.
PHILADELPHIA – So, did the much anticipated youth vote of 2008 show up? Yes, initial results suggest they came out in numbers slightly larger than other age groups in an election of historic turnout. Long lines in college polling stations indicated a big boost in voting among students, and initial exit polls last night indicated that voters between the ages of 18 and 29 composed about 18 percent of the overall electorate, slightly larger than their 17 percent share of voters in the 2004 election.
That figure is only an estimate, since there are no official numbers on age and voting. And it suggests that young voters are still underperforming compared to other groups, since they represent about 22 percent of the voting-age population. Still, it was clear last night there were places where youth voting was massive and enthusiastic. And, since exit polls say young voters favored Barack Obama by a 68-to-30 margin, it’s clear they helped propel the Democratic candidate to victory.
“It was incredible, a huge surge,” said Carol Jenkins, the Democratic ward leader from University City. She said one voting division on the Penn campus that saw 801 votes cast four years ago would host well over 1,000 votes in this election, an increase of at least 20 percent. There were long lines of Temple students at a polling place at 12th Street and Susquehanna Avenue, where actor David Morse, from “The Green Mile,” and “Hack” paid a visit.
A group of eight Widener University students, all first-time voters, walked from that campus to their polling location in Chester to cast their votes together yesterday. “It’s kind of like after the Great Depression where they voted FDR in,” Christopher Casella, 19, said. “It’s important.” Chester Election Judge Jane Jennings said she had three times more voters than in previous elections, and estimated that more than half were Widener students and first-time voters. …
Peter Levine, director of the Pew-funded Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, which tracks youth voting, said the high turnout among college students is perhaps balanced by a less robust showing among other young voters. But he said it’s clear more young people voted this year. “They’re paying attention and they’re willing to take action and we see that confirmed in other data,” Levine said. “And that’s a good thing for the long-term future of democracy.”
BOSTON – The Bay State college political machine rolled into motion yesterday as students went door to door, burned up the phone lines and hit the Internet to get out the vote on campuses. “Students this year have gotten involved in ways we’ve never seen before,” said Jarret A. Zafran, 21, president of the Harvard College Democrats. “We went from dorm room to dorm room, sent e-mails, sat in dining halls.”
Shana Hurley, 20, president of the Tufts Democrats, said she and other students were getting out the vote the old-fashioned way: “Going to bed at 2 a.m. and waking up at 4 to hang door knockers.” But new technology has had a big influence on the youth vote, said Harvard College Republicans President Colin Motley, 19, of Lake Orion, Mich. “I think it goes without saying that Facebook and e-mail has become an integral part of getting college students to vote,” said Motley. “The great thing is it changes it from kind of a top-down approach to a bottom-up event.”
Adam Spang, president of the Northeastern University College Republicans, said his group also relied heavily on Facebook but had an uphill battle. Young voters’ support, he said, was “overwhelmingly for Barack Obama.” Turnout among young people was expected to smash records, said Avi Green, executive director of MassVOTE, a nonpartisan voting rights group, noting “a sense of urgency around the economy.”
But idealism played a role too. “The youth want to be part of something and make the country a better place,” said Timothy Manns, 19, an Emerson freshman from San Diego. “The youth has seen our country fall short and I think they want to pick up the slack.”
BALTIMORE – For months, young people have knocked on doors, made phone calls and given money to support Sen. Barack Obama. On Tuesday, they finally had a chance to vote for him. “It’s like cool to vote now. It’s a fashion statement,” said Lola Olakanye, 22, a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, who left class early to go home to Silver Spring to vote. “If you don’t vote, you’re lame.”
Young voters turned out across the country in numbers unprecedented in recent history, exit polls found, a surge propelled by anxiety over the economy, frustration with the war in Iraq and, perhaps most of all, a sense of connection to Obama. Among voters ages 18-29, Obama won 75 percent in Maryland and 68 nationwide, according to exit polls. Obama won 60 percent of the Maryland vote overall. “I think Obama himself is a unifying figure for young people,” said Jack Berger, 20, a John Hopkins University junior from Westchester County, N.Y., and Obama volunteer who was headed to Pennsylvania Tuesday afternoon for a final round of canvassing. “The legacy of Bush and the charisma of Obama is a big motivating factor in getting people out.” …
Alexa Milroy, a St. Mary’s sophomore who returned to Silver Spring to cast her ballot. Milroy, 19, took off her first semester of college last fall to volunteer for the Obama campaign in Iowa, where she lived with her grandmother for five months while canvassing for Obama. “His message of hope and change really resonated with me,” she said. …
In 1996, the national turnout among those ages 18-29 was 37 percent, according to data compiled by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University in Massachusetts. Youth turnout ticked upward to 41 percent in 2000, and 48 percent in 2004. Tuesday’s youth turnout figures, which were expected to be even higher, weren’t available tonight.
“I think that this generation of young people is in many ways more engaged than my generation, which was Generation X,” said Peter Levine, director of the Tufts center. “They volunteer at record rates and their attentiveness and concern for the news has risen. They are more idealistic and committed.” He said Obama’s campaign reached out to youth in new ways, both online with pages on Facebook and with Camp Obama, a training program for canvassers. According to University Wire, a syndicate for college newspapers, 63 papers endorsed Obama, while only one (the University of Mississippi paper) endorsed McCain.
Frustrated by feckless Washington, energized by the unscripted, pundit-baffling freedom of a wide-open race, young people are voting in numbers rarely seen since the general election of 1972 — the first in which the voting age was lowered to 18. Obama is both catalyst and beneficiary. In state after state, he has drawn more young voters than any of his competitors. For a group of voters with no memory of a time before Bushes and Clintons, Obama is a fresh face.
His opponents promise to fight, but Obama promises healing. His is the language of possibility, which is the native tongue of the young. And if he happens to be light on details — well, what are details but the dull pieces of disassembled dreams? “I had a friend tell me this was impossible, quoting all these political-science statistics at me to show that it’s hopeless to try to organize students,” says Michelle Stein, 20, media coordinator for Obama’s youth campaign in Missouri. “Now he says, ‘You were right, I was wrong. Where do I sign up?'”
Combining digital-age technology with old-fashioned shoe leather, the Illinois Senator first rallied Iowa students to cancel Clinton’s cakewalk. While enthusiastic Democrats of all ages produced a 90% increase in turnout for the first caucuses, the number of young voters was up half again as much: 135%. The kids preferred Obama over the next-closest competitor by more than 4 to 1. The youngest slice — the under-25 set, typically among the most elusive voters in all of politics — gave Obama a net gain of some 17,000 votes. He won by just under 20,000. …
But Obama’s support among youth is not just a matter of mood; it is a product of effort and organization, of finding his supporters and getting them to the polls. In TIME’s national survey, he has a 3-to-2 advantage over Clinton among young voters, but he is doing significantly better than that in actual balloting, thanks to his superior ground game. …
Obama’s outreach to students didn’t spring from some starry-eyed principle. It started as a specific element of his early strategy in Iowa. The first-in-the-nation caucuses allow 17-year-olds to vote if they are going to turn 18 before the general election, which means most high school seniors are eligible. To win those kids, Obama did something unusual in politics: he made them a genuine priority. After his rallies in towns across the state, he met backstage with student leaders from the area — a privilege most campaigns reserve for local VIPs and fund raisers. ,,,
The students traded ideas for fund-raising concerts and teasingly racy “Show Us Your O-Face” parties. They discussed plans for “dorm-storming,” a canvassing technique that matches student volunteers with dormitories where they live or have friends. “It’s a very intimate interaction because they’re hearing about Obama from someone they already know,” Wolfe explained. The point of all these activities is to collect as many names as possible of potential supporters and then badger the prospects until they cast their ballots. …
The 21st century part is this: technology makes it easier than ever to create networks and share enthusiasm. Facebook, the largest of Internet social-networking sites, boasts a market share of more than 85% of four-year U.S. universities, with millions of members averaging 20 minutes per day on-site exploring interests and keeping track of friends. Facebook has all the power of Meetup, the online campaign sensation that powered Howard Dean’s brief moment in the presidential spotlight four years ago — plus much more. Its 65 billion page views per month make Facebook perfect for rapidly spreading messages and creating trends. “A kid puts up an Obama page, and suddenly she has 35 friends gathered,” Riemer marvels. “It was so much more work to get started just five years ago.”
That is not the only advantage of technology. Finding and communicating with students have traditionally been a nightmare for politicians. Students are constantly moving from home to dorm to group house to campus apartment. They don’t typically show up in the databases purchased by campaigns: rolls of past voters, lists of homeowners and membership files of special-interest groups. They aren’t regular watchers of TV news or subscribers to newspapers. But kids can now catch candidate speeches and debate snippets on YouTube. Their cell-phone numbers and e-mail addresses follow them everywhere. Technology makes it easier for them to volunteer too: students who might never show up at a phone bank can now download contacts from a central database and make calls from the comfort of their dorm rooms. Loosely connected to traditional networks, young people are intensely connected online. They once were lost but now can be found, and Obama is being rewarded for making the effort to look. …
Obama, by contrast, radiates the new. He doesn’t just talk about change; he looks like change. His person and his platform are virtually indistinguishable. Obama, like Tiger Woods and Angelina Jolie, has one of those faces that seem beamed from a postracial future, when everyone will have a permanent, noncarcinogenic tan. He has small kids and a low BMI. His voice rumbles with authority, but his ears stick out like Opie Taylor’s. His campaign is crawling with cool young people, and the candidate fits right in. We’ve yet to see Obama flustered or harried; instead, he gives off the enigmatic Zen confidence of the guy who is picked first for every game.
His lack of experience can even seem like an asset to young voters. “I like that he’s new,” says Neil Stewart, 18, a freshman at the University of Colorado in Boulder. “We need some freshness in our government right now.” Obama’s “inexperience means he comes in with a fresh look and isn’t quite as jaded by the political system as most other people are,” says Jennifer Zamarripa, 26, a University of Denver law-school student. “He’s new and modern and breaking with the past,” says José Villanueva, 21, a senior at Claremont McKenna College in California. …
Where Obama could be onto something truly rare is the way his campaign themes, personal story and base of support reinforce one another. Obama radiates change, which attracts young people, which in turn validates the message of change. He tells young people they can make a difference, and they decide to vote, thus making a difference. “Hope is the thing with feathers,” as Emily Dickinson put it, and if Obama can make it fly, it can have deep implications in a society primed to follow the passions of youth. …
When young people get involved, they tend to stay involved. The graybeards of today’s Democratic Party were once the inspired youth of the New Frontier, or Clean for Gene McCarthy, or bell-bottomed foot soldiers for George McGovern. Scan the crowd at an Obama rally, squint, and you just might see the future. For the moment, it’s enough for young Obama supporters to feel that they are part of something big and historic. “I am a believer that change can happen,” says Patricia Griffin, 25, a student at St. Louis Community College. “So-called Washington experience has given us an unjustified war, an economy slipping, the dollar losing its value, health care impossible to afford. I’m telling my friends they can make a difference this time. They can vote.”
“After MSNBC called the election for Obama, you could hear it outside. There was a dull roar coming from places all over campus,” said Kathleen Keating, 22, a senior at Oberlin. “People were running out of their houses, yelling, hugging strangers, dancing. The atmosphere was electric and I don’t think I have ever seen so many people so ecstatic. Kids showed up with instruments and a parade started, growing in size as it went down the street. I was so happy I got to be in Oberlin to celebrate with such a large base of supporters.”
“I think the election ended the way the majority of Americans hoped it would,” said Patrick Kennedy, a Ball State University student studying in London for the semester. “We’ve elected a man that offers what America has lacked in recent memory: hope, opportunity, confidence and a sense of prosperity. The principles and ideals under which he has been elected are ones that are universally sought after and, regardless of your race, gender, creed, or political affiliation, are easy and important to stand behind.
“This is a transitional period in our nation that will go down in history,” said Chad Surdi, a 24-year-old from Washington State. “I beg everyone to step back and look at the whole picture, and when you do, I hope you realize this wasn’t a one issue election and this is a great success for us as a country.”
Check the above link for an amazing compilation of music videos for your viewing and listening pleasure.
Thousands of artists and musicians have been inspired by Barack Obama, and his message of hope. This is a great time in our history where the internet provides people an avenue to share their creative works with many. Here’s just a small sampling of music from this movement for change. A movement that cannot and will not be denied. The following videos are inspired by, in support of, or dedicated by the artist to- Senator Barack Obama. If you like what you hear, share it with others. Support the artists/musicians =)