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.

Author Biography

Lindsey C Bohl
I am an Arts and Science student in Vanderbilt’s class of 2011. I am originally from Columbus, Ohio, the home of The Ohio State University. As a double major in Political Science and Medicine, Health, and Society my primary scholastic interests are Health Policy, Congressional Politics, and Federal Elections. In the fall of 2008, I was Registration Director for Vanderbilt’s chapter of the Student Association for Voter Empowerment (SAVE). I currently hold the position of Scholarship Chair in the Panhellenic sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. In addition to politics, I have a passion for College football (especially Ohio State), the ocean, and international travel.
How to Cite
BOHL, Lindsey C. Courting the Youth Vote in 2008: The Obama Effect. Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal, [S.l.], v. 5, july 2009. ISSN 1555-788X. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 aug. 2019. doi:
Humanities and Social Sciences


Voter Behavior