American Freshman

Cross-posted at Future Majority.(Bumped from the diaries -- Jonathan... Very interesting stuff, indeed.)

Just got around to reading The American Freshman - National Norms for Fall 2006(pdf).  It's a longitudinal study of college freshman conducted by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at UCLA.  While that may sound about as fun as listening to Bush's State of the Union again, it actually had some really interesting findings that have ramifications for how we - progressives generally, and campaigns specifically - reach out and engage this group of voters.

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The First of Many Thirds: Engaging the Youth Vote in '08 and Beyond

Cross posted atFuture Majority. bumped--Chris

We've talked a lot lately about young voters. How they turned out in near record numbers, and broke heavily democratic.  Pollsters, bloggers and strategists are also busy promoting the fact that if a someone votes for a party 3 times (before they turn 30),they are likely to become a life-long voter for that party.  The new conventional wisdom is this: "youth voted Democratic in 2004  and in 2006.  If we get them in 2008, we've locked a generation the size of the baby boomers for life."

While technically correct, there are some assumptions in that statement that need to be challenged.

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The Next Generation Will Blow You Away: RootsCampDC

Last week I road-tripped it down to RootsCampDC with my fellow Future Majority blogger Alex Urevick, and a few friends.

Alex has a great roundup here on our blog that I recommend everyone read (we rarely overlapped sessions, so its a good supplement to this piece).  

Mostly I stuck to young voter workshops, and they straight-up blew me away.  In the last few years, there's been a lot of really great entrepreneurial activity from Progressives under 30.  If the sessions I sat in on were any indication, we can expect a lot more before November 2008.

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Microtargeting with MySpace

Crossposted atFuture Majority

The Washington Post took a look again this week at "microtargeting" of voters, which they define as:

the new science (some say dark art) by which candidates use the latest data-mining technology to vacuum every last scrap of information about voters, then churn out custom-tailored messages designed to herd their supporters to the polls
This is, in my eyes, the future of politics. Targeting masses of people within huge demographics is such a blunt tool that it is bound to completely miss large percentages of the targeted audience.

As we have noted on Future Majoritynumerous times, young people are a great place for campaigns to look for support, but with the emergence of microtargeting as a campaign communication tactic they should be even more enticing. Take a look at any of the social networking sites, like MySpace and Facebook, and you quickly see that young people are telling the entire world about their tastes, desires, dreams, etc.  And, there are cheap and easy to use tools that can help campaigns to do the targeting for them. For myspace there is the FriendBlaster Pro and Badder Adder, both of which help you to add up to 500 friends a day (any more than this gets you in trouble with the MySpace police) according to a large number of easy to configure variables. They can also help to manage labor intensive tasks such as adding comments to large numbers of pages and keeping up to date on bulletins. (I haven't been able to locate a friend adding program for Facebook. If you know of one please leave the URL in the comments)

I almost forgot to mention this article, which looks at MySpace's new voter registration push - MySpace launches voter-registration plan:

The youth-heavy online hangout is launching a voter-registration drive to engage its members in civics. In partnership with the nonpartisan group Declare Yourself, MySpace is running ads on its highly trafficked Web site and giving members tools such as a "I Registered To Vote On MySpace" badge to place on their personal profile pages.

"Young people in this country ... are really engaged in what's happening in their community and want to make a difference," said Jeff Berman, MySpace's senior vice president for public affairs. "The key is to make it easy for them to get engaged. By putting these tools on MySpace and putting it in front of their eyes, you make it far more likely they will use them."

I hope that every candidate has this on their MySpace account! It boggles my mind when I find campaigns, including the DNC's field campaign, that don't register people to vote.

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Millennials Carry Lamont Over Lieberman

(Cross-posted at Future Majority)

With record total turnout of over 275,000, Ned Lamont defeated incumbent Joe Lieberman in this week's Democratic Party Primary for Senator in Connecticut. The margin of victory was 3.8%, a tight race. Exit polling reveals that voters under the age of 30 were the critical difference for Lamont:

Graphic from politicalarithmetik. The break for the 18 - 29 bracket is 63% Lamont.

Without the big break from millenial Nutmeg-staters, the power of incumbency would have kept Holy Joe in office.

Don't count on the trad media to pick this up, but those of us paying attention realize this is further evidence that the vanguard Millennials are shaping up to be a a powerful backbone for the future progressive majority. In 2004 we saw that under-30 turnout made Kerry competative. In 2006, we're going to see that same generational cohort start to win races.

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