Who We Are: The Challenge
In the past decade, young voters have become increasingly politically active, becoming one of the fastest-growing constituencies. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity is for progressives to reap most of the benefit from this growing voting bloc. The challenge, however, is to connect with and win over these young voters—a voting bloc political candidates have historically ignored.
Young Voters Are Becoming Increasingly Politically Involved
In the 2004 presidential election, a record number of young people cast a vote. More importantly, their numbers swelled more than almost any other demographic group. Although voter turnout for the overall American population increased only 4% between 2000 and 2004, voters under 25 years old increased 11%. The trend continued in 2005. In the Virginia election, the number of young people casting votes increased 15% over the 2001 election. In the New Jersey election, young people who voted increased almost 20% over the 2001 number. In the 2008 presidential election, 85% of young adults were registered to vote, up 5% from the 2006 midterm election.
A Progressive Opportunity
Two factors make this increase in young voters a potential boon to progressive politicians. First, most people chose their political party between the ages of 18 and 30, and proceed to vote that way most of their lives. Considered we're talking about the youngest voting population, this particular voting bloc will be around longer than almost any other demographic politicians must appeal to. Second, on average, young people lean to the left politically. Idealistic and hopeful, young adults tend to focus more on what the world can be, rather than keeping things the way they are. In short, this growing group of politically active youth presents progressives with an excellent chance to win over their support—and keep it for decades to come.
Unfortunately, political candidates have historically ignored young voters. This demographic has long been considered a lost cause, a group that is cynical and apathetic, who won't go out cast their votes even if you appeal to issues that concern them. Consequently, most politicians lack to infrastructure to determine what young voter's concerns are, or to let the younger generation know that a specific candidate is addressing their concerns.
How to Mobilize Young Voters
Young Voter PAC is dedicated to mobilizing this growing, energetic demographic group for progressive candidates. We conduct research on young voters to identify the values, concerns, and courses of action most important to them, and break down the results by age, gender, and ethnicity. We'll provide this information to progressive candidates, so that they can take a stand on the issues that will win over these young voters' support. We also focus on discovering the different ways for politicians to get their message to young voters, who are increasingly turning online for their information on political issues and candidates. If we can let young voters know that progressive candidates take the issues important to the young generation seriously and are addressing their concerns, we can transform apathy to enthusiasm. Finally, Young Voter PAC encourages young voter registration drives, voter education, and Election Day information. We believe that by bringing out the vote from this new generation, we can and will change the face of American politics.