For months United States citizens have been bombarded with political campaign ads putting down or degrading competitors and explaining why that certain someone is the best choice for you and for middle-class America. There have been so much smear campaigns this election than previous elections, or maybe I have not paid as much attention to previous election campaigns. Regardless, the season is coming to a close, which I think most people, including myself, are thankful for.
One of the pressing questions in my mind has been the relevance that candidates find the vote of the younger population to be. In some aspects, as Bob Al-Greene says in the article, Facebook Inspires Young Voters to take Action, “For the younger demographic of new voters, social media can be a push to the ballot.” I believe that this is true, social media can be, if used effectively, a strategic mechanism for candidates to use to gain support from a younger demographic. But, form my own observation, I have seen less social media activity for this election compared to the previous 2008 election, and both campaigns seem to not focus on young adults.
An interesting infographic that was associated with the story showed just how pivotal social media can be for a campaign. Some of the numbers indicated that:
- Young Americans are more active on Facebook than in politics
- 98% of young adults, ages 18-24 use some sort of social media regularly
- only 48.5% of young adults voted in the 2008 election, but that number was more than in 2004, with over 2 million young citizens casting their vote in 2008
A study was done at the University of California that looked at the relationship between a social message that was sent to voters during a congressional election in 2010. Three important findings were reported:
1- A social message encouraged user to vote in the election
2- Data found that users who received the message were more likely to vote
3- This small action turned in about 600,000 more votes
The use of social media is essential in gaining the vote of a younger demographic, but the question of a candidate’s views of the importance of the vote from a younger demographic, has still got me wondering.