A new poll conducted by Generation Opportunity revealed that 76 percent of young people have plans to vote in the upcoming election. These are some of the highest numbers available on youth involvement and participation in the election.
Other polls show a dramatic decrease from 2008 numbers in youth interest in voting and candidate enthusiasm, but Generation Opportunity President Paul Conway says they have their facts wrong.
“It has been completely underestimated so far,” Conway told RedAlertPolitics in a phone interview. “Enthusiasm is absolutely not down, it is as high as 2008.”
Generation Opportunity polled 1,003 adults, ages 18-29, by sending them an e-mail invitation to fill out an online questionnaire. They also found that 89 percent found that the faltering economy impacted their lives daily, 84 percent said that they had to delay or change a major life choice because of the state of the economy and 61 percent said that the availability of more full time jobs with insurance plans is more important to them than being able to stay on their parents’ plan until they are 26.
Everywhere he goes in his travels across the country talking to youth, Conway says that there are incredible numbers of young people that are worried about their jobs, worried about the economy and want to do everything they can to see that their candidate wins the election.
“We believe that you’re not going to do a lot of convincing [of young people] with slick YouTube videos,” Conway said. “Young people want the details.”
He said that young people are the ones that are currently faced with the hard, practical reality of daily life and so they really care about policy and they want more from their candidates than charisma and likeability.
Other recent polls have suggested that voter enthusiasm is no where near 2008 levels. The Associated Press said only 60 percent of college students were interested in the elections this year.
But whatever the real numbers are, Generation Opportunity is not limiting their efforts to polling alone. They are also working to register new voters, promote new, faster, online ways register to vote and to educate and inform young people about the policies of each candidate.
Conway said that in the last comprehensive test conducted on the online voter registration more than 10,ooo young people tried to register in a two-week period.
There’s still a month to go, and Conway has high hopes that the final election results will show even more civil engagement from young people than ever before.