Young voters are a new base, scholars say

May 6, 2008 at 10:07 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- Voters under 30 years old turned out en masse in the 2008 U.S. presidential contest positioning them as the new base of political clout, scholars say.

The appeal of the first viable woman candidate in Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and African-American candidate in Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., as well as fringe, but outspoken, candidates such as Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, spurred young first-time voters to the polls in droves, USA Today said Tuesday.

In response, the presidential contenders reached out to younger voters by addressing college costs and the war in Iraq by looking to the Internet and other forms of new media.

On the social networking Web site Facebook, Clinton and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have around 130,000 supporters and Obama has almost 800,000.

The number of young voters in this year's contest doubled in Louisiana and Massachusetts, tripled in Iowa and quadrupled in Tennessee, the newspaper said.

"We have all these factors firing on all cylinders," says Michael McDonald, a voter analyst at George Mason University. "It really does seem to be a perfect storm."

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