Courting the Youth Vote in 2008: The Obama Effect

Lindsey C Bohl


This paper examines a few of the numerous factors that may have led to increased youth turnout in 2008 Election. First, theories of voter behavior and turnout are related to courting the youth vote. Several variables that are perceived to affect youth turnout such as party polarization, perceived candidate difference, voter registration, effective campaigning and mobilization, and use of the Internet, are examined. Over the past 40 years, presidential elections have failed to engage the majority of young citizens (ages 18-29) to the point that they became inclined to participate. This trend began to reverse starting in 2000 Election and the youth turnout reached its peak in 2008. While both short and long-term factors played a significant role in recent elections, high turnout among youth voters in 2008 can be largely attributed to the Obama candidacy and campaign, which mobilized young citizens in unprecedented ways.


Voter Behavior

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