Young Voter Strategies

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Young Voter Strategies is a research organization in The Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University. It analyzes youth voting in the United States and provides prescriptive information to increase turnout from that demographic. It refers to this target demographic with the common moniker Generation Y. Their stated goal is to make the targeting of young voters a more permanent part of electoral strategies. The organization gets significant funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The organization produced lots of research and papers during the 2006 election season. As early as 2005, it found that members of Generation Y have more trust in government and greater civic pride than their older siblings.[1] It also found that young voters and politicians are caught in a "mutual cycle of neglect" where neither group makes efforts to woo the other. In some cases, political language excludes youth, like referring to young members of the military as "sons and daughters", instead of "peers and friends".[2] Though youth are generally apathetic about politics, YVS has found that several political issues are important to them, namely the Iraq War, the economy and the price of fuel, and, inevitably, the cost of higher education.[3]

The organization reckons that it is easy to change apathetic youth into consistent voters by making connections between youth interests and political participation and using their increased (compared to previous generations) volunteer ethic and knowledge about the world,[4] and simply asking them to vote.[5] Their research confirms at least some of the claims. YVS found that areas targeted by student PIRGs and other groups showed dramatic increases in turnout between the 2002 and 2006 midterm elections.[6] Peer-to-peer efforts were more effective than phone calls or mailings.[7] The demographic trended Democratic, with YVS polling indicating that half voted for that party and 35% for Republicans, similar to CNN's figure of 60% of the youth vote going to Democrats in 2006.[8]

In 2007 Young Voter Strategies combined operations with Rock the Vote and has since launched a campaign to register 2 million young voters in 2008.


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