Technology Snags College-Aged Voters in New Hampshire

    After examining the results of this week’s New
    Hampshire
    primaries and last week’s Iowa caucuses, it’s easy to see why many
    media outlets have dubbed this year’s contest the “Facebook election.”

    Historically, it’s not a big secret that the under-30 crowd
    is often noticeably absent from the nation’s voting bloc. It’s also no secret
    that candidates tend to court issues that relate to older voters, which is why
    older voters have always dominated the polls.

    But with this year’s presidential election being the most
    open contest for the White House since 1928 — the last time there was no
    incumbent president or vice president seeking a nomination — candidates, both
    Democratic and Republican, have made it a priority to tap into the youth vote.

    Thanks largely to popular social networking site Facebook,
    which teamed up with ABC News to sponsor televised presidential debates — even
    splaying its very recognizable logo on candidates’ podiums — young voters have
    turned out in droves in both the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries. As
    a result, their participation has been crucial to propelling candidates to
    victory.

    According to exit polls, in New Hampshire alone more than
    72,000 voters between the ages of 18 and 30 took part in the state’s primaries,
    which is about double the number who voted four years ago. And in Iowa, about
    65,000 young voters participated in the state’s caucuses, about three times the
    number who participated in 2004.

    But Facebook’s influence hasn’t been confined solely to the
    podium. The Web site also offers debate forums where users can discuss
    candidates’ key issues, as well as real-time news and video streaming from the
    campaign trail. In addition, the site features profile pages specific to each
    candidate, where users can publicly display support.

    Facebook’s sponsorship of the election process has
    undoubtedly given young voters a chance to mobilize active political
    engagement, and by reaching out to young voters with familiar technology,
    candidates have finally given them a reason to become excited about the
    political process. As the race for the White House narrows, these efforts must
    continue.

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