As Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue their quest for their party’s nomination, both aspirants are eagerly courting young voters with rallies at colleges and universities, through concerts and with big-name endorsements.
Younger voters, those who are generally considered between the ages of 18 and 35, are a formidable bloc of the nation’s electorate, as evidenced in 2000 and 2004. In those years, their lack of involvement helped to make both races extremely close; had they voted for President Bush, he would have likely won comfortably, or if they voted for Al Gore or John Kerry, either of them may be president today.
In 2008, apathy among younger voters does not appear to be the case. Across the country, particularly among Democrats, young voters seem to be highly motivated and energized, in part by the historic natures of the Obama and Clinton candidacies.
That excitement has led to several musicians jumping into the action to drum up awareness for their favorite candidates. Recently, Bruce Springsteen endorsed Obama, and Dave Matthews and the Grateful Dead have played concerts to support him. As for Clinton, Elton John recently played a major fundraiser for her that generated more than $2 million.
According to Reuters, Obama appears to have the edge among younger voters, based in part on an MTV/CBS poll released this week that shows that Obama beats Clinton with the youth vote by about 11 percentage points, 48 percent to 37 percent.
The video below, as reported by Reuters’ Jon Decker, talks about the efforts by both candidates to court young voters.