Gore’s Invention Is A Necessity for GOPers Seeking to Reach Young Voters

(This article was co-authored by Jim Hobart.)

While many of these blog posts have centered on the need for Republicans to focus on improving with Independents, there are several other key subgroups Republicans need to target if they are to begin to enjoy widespread success on Election Day once again. One of these groups is younger voters.

The past two election cycles, Republicans have lost younger voters (voters age 18-29) by substantial margins (38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-60{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 2006 and 32{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-66{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 2008). While younger voters are not a group Republican candidates need to win (Bush lost younger voters 45{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-54{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in 2004), we need to at least be competitive with this group.

facebook-blog-chart

The Obama campaign was extraordinarily successful in contacting and staying in touch with young voters through “new media” websites like Twitter and Facebook, and a look at the demographics of these two websites quickly demonstrates why.

According to a recent Pew survey , 20{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of online adults age 18-34 say they have used Twitter or a related product.

Peter Corbett of iStrategies did two very interesting analyses of the demographics of Facebook and Twitter.  Both are well worth a read, but we pulled out a couple of key points for politicos:

Looking at the demographics of Facebook , of their estimated 26.5 million users in the United States, 81{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, or 21.5 million, are age 18-34. These figures are staggering and demonstrate why is it so important for modern campaigns to have an active presence on these websites.

And, it’s not just younger voters who campaigns will be reaching through these websites. From June 2008-January 2009, the growth of Facebook users age 35-54 was an astonishing 276.4{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}. The growth rate for users age 55+ was a similarly impressive 194.3{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} over the same six month period. Looking at the demographics of  Twitter, more than half (52{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of their users are age 35 or older.

While we are not sure if the phrases “Did you Facebook him” or “Have you Twittered today?” will ever become as ubiquitous as “Just Google it”, these websites are here to stay. GOP Campaigns from the federal to local level should aim to have a strong presence on both.

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