Youth Voice being heard in 2008 Primaries

Who ever said that youth are lazy and apathetic? We aren’t! Right? RIGHT!

So far in this New Year that has been made quite clear by the number of youth participating in the recent presidential primaries. In the much anticipated January 3 Iowa caucuses, voters ages 17 – 29 tripled their participation in the Democratic caucus from 2004 making up 22% of the vote. Also in this caucus the youth vote seems to have been what won the primary for candidates Senator Obama and Governor Huckabee. On the Democratic side 57 % of that youth vote went towards Obama, and on the Republican side 40% of the youth vote went towards Huckabee. As I have been reading news articles about these primaries, I read that the trend is toward courting the youth so that you can win the primary. That seems to be very true.

The power of the youth vote was reinforced again in the subsequent New Hampshire primaries on January 08. Again the in the Democratic caucus the percentage of voters 17 – 29 increased from 14% in 2004, to 18% this year in 2008. This time around in the Democratic caucus the vote from this age group was split between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. Those voters ages 18 – 24 supported Obama (61%) over Clinton (22%) and voters ages 25 – 29 supported both candidates pretty much equally (Clinton, 37%, and Obama 34%). In the Republican caucus voters ages 17 – 29 supported Senator McCain (17 – 24 year olds, 27% and 25 – 29 year olds, 37%).

So far young voters have really come through for us on these primaries. We are seeing a great race. With these results as our example, clearly we as youth, have the power to select who we think will run our country well, and as our right, we should continue to exercise it.

For myself I have struggled figuring out who I will vote for. As an independent I really try to weigh my decision on the issues. Fortunately this time around I have YouTube so that we can watch all of the debates carefully and learn exactly what each of the candidates supports. All you have to do a Google search or a YouTube search for the name of the candidate and the issue you are interested in. Nine times out of ten you will get something from YouTube or another site. This is fantastic if you can’t tear yourself away from your favorite episode of Family Guy or Scrubs. Thank you digital age. 🙂

Today, January 15 we will watch in great anticipation to see what happens with the primaries in Michigan. Following Michigan in January we have Nevada on January 19, South Carolina on January 26, and Florida on January 29th.

Get all the info and data you need about these primaries (this is where I got the stats you have read above):

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/

Rock the Vote:

www.rockthevote.com

Know Your Voting Rights:

http://www.rockthevote.com/student_voter_rights.php

Vote Gopher:

http://www.votegopher.com/index.php

– Shawn Sweeney, Graduate Fellow, Roots & Shoots a program of the Jane Goodall Institute

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