Young Americans 18-29 can claim a lot of credit for the overwhelming victory of the Democrats in the 2006 midterm elections says the Rock the Vote blog today. Thankfully, young people took the election and its issues very seriously.
Rock the Vote and other advocacy groups made ample use of social media tools like Facebook and MySpace, reaching young people where they spend their time. It is increasingly clear that online campaigns can translate to offline action, a trend that’s on track for huge growth. Rock the Vote’s Facebook group has more than 24,000 members and one MySpace group has close to 10,000 members. MoveOn.org members, many of whom are young voters, made more than 7 million phone calls urging people to go out and vote Democratic.
Reuters confirms that at least 10 million voters under 30 voted in congressional elections yesterday – the largest youth turnout in 20 years.
This is a significant result, considering that young people are actually a smaller share of the electorate in 2006 than they were in 2002, and also that turnout overall in the 2006 election appears to be up from 2002. The data shows that the increase in voter turnout for 18-29 year olds in 2006 significantly outpaced the overall population turnout increase.
I believe that Baby Boomers failed to seize political power during the Vietnam era, and have paid a price for that failure ever since. That young people are now willing to become involved in politics is heartening indeed and bodes well for the future of America.