Rock the Vote Founded nearly twenty years ago in response to a wave of attacks on freedom of speech and artistic expression, Rock the Vote has established itself as the premier organization representing the intersection of young people, politics, and pop culture. Rock the Vote is able to translate the success of the brand into real results by running innovative and successful voter outreach and registrations efforts. Rock The Vote was the first organization to introduce telephone voter registration as well as online voter registration and has run the largest young voter registration drives on record during the past 5 presidential elections.
Record young voter turnout Engagement for a lifetime A better democracy Goals for 2008 and Beyond
Background on Young Voters The Millennial Generation is huge. Young people are energized. Young voter turnout is on the rise. Young adults will vote when asked… …and when mobilized, can make a huge impact on elections and the direction of our country.
The Millennial Generation is Huge Millennial voters are more than one-fifth of the electorate in 2008 - and growing.
The Millennial Generation is Huge In 2004, the number of 18-29 year old voters rivaled the over-65 vote.
The Millennial Generation is Diverse Millennials are far more diverse than older voters; for example, 81% of 65+ adults are white, whereas just 61% of 18-29 year olds are. (U.S. Census Bureau 2006)
…are energized around elections… “Thinking specifically about this year’s election, how closely would you say you have followed the election– extremely closely, very closely, somewhat closely, a little closely, or not at all closely?” Rock the Vote Poll, February 2008
Young Voter Turnout is on the Rise First there was a big increase in 2004…
Young Voter Turnout is on the Rise Then it happened again in 2006…
Young Voter Turnout is on the Rise …and in the 2008 primaries, young voters surged to the polls, more than doubling their vote total compared to the previous primary season.
Young Voters are Trending Democratic… In 2000, 18-29 year olds split evenly, 48% for Al Gore and 46% for George W. Bush. In 2002, 49% of 18-29 year olds voted for Democrats and 47% for Republicans. In 2004, 54% of 18-29 year olds voted for John Kerry and 45% for George W. Bush. In 2006, 60% of 18-29 year olds voted for Democrats and 38% for Republicans. …although this hasn’t always been the case.
African Americans, Latinos, and young women identify heavily as Democrats.
Young married and white men and religious youth lean Republican
The Millennial Generation and the 2008 Elections Millennial voters have grown up in dramatically different, quickly changing world. They are diverse, engaged, and actively participating in the political process. The Millennium generation is uniquely connected to advancements in technology. They value their iPods and Facebook profile over their televisions, and are constantly seeking new ways to connect with the world.
Potential Impact of Young Voters Impact on elections: Huge in number and engaged Impact on party in power: Trending democratic Impact on Democracy: Millions more who traditionally don’t vote could be involved.
THE 2008 ELECTIONS ! RTV STRATEGY… Engage record numbers of young voters through registration drives- online, on-the-ground. Force candidates to address young people. Reminders to vote.
Rock the Vote in ’08 Voter Engagement Registered 2 million voters –Online via Facebook, website, xBox –Mobile Phones –Street teams, concert tour, events –Media partners –Artist Advisory Council Increase turnout for 3rd major election in a row. –Peer to peer turnout reminders –Text message reminders –Voter education
Rock the Vote ‘08 Get Candidates to Pay Attention Action on the issues Getting the word out in the news Forums for candidates to talk with young voters Resources for campaigns & candidates from RTV experts
Voter Registration Online: Register a new young voter for $2-10 per registration. –Online ads –Social networks like Facebook –Email In person: Staff and volunteers can generate registrations for $5-10. –Campus quad or student center –Clubs, bars, coffee shops –Bus stops and train stops –Community meetings, class presentations, workplaces Direct mail: Register a new voter for $5-6 per person. Can be targeted to specific demographics, geography, etc. Registration is the best get-out-the-vote tactic around: in 2004, 82% of registered 18-29 year olds voted.
Get Out the Vote GOTV tactics that work –Multiple contacts from a campaign can increase turnout by 10-14 percentage points. –A door knock can boost turnout by 8 points. –A live phone call increases turnout by 3-5 points. –A text message increases turnout by 3-4 points. –PSAS increase turnout 1-2 points. Studies show that contact from campaigns significantly increases a young person’s likelihood of turning out to vote on Election Day. Also… Build/get a good list - and keep it up to date Collect emails and cells - they travel with us! Buy youth vote groups’ lists from brokers. Update right after registration deadlines.
Messaging DO Talk about the issues and be results-oriented. Know that you need to appeal to their interests. Reinforce empowerment - use positive language about young voter participation. Use language that builds on young voters’ desire to have an impact, not only for ourselves but also for our friends, family, and world. Give them a sense their votes can make a difference and will be counted. Ask for their votes. DON’T Denigrate young people for apathy. Not only is this not true, it can decrease turnout. Place young people in opposition to older people. Assume that young voters know the basics of registering and voting. Think young voters will vote just because it is the right thing to do. Invoke anger. They’re looking for solutions, not complaints. Forget to ask for their votes. Through focus groups, polling, and work in the field, Rock the Vote knows what messaging works to motivate young voters – and what doesn’t.
Sample Messages “Your vote can make a difference for people you care about. Vote for your brothers and sisters who want to be able to go to college. Vote for your friends who are in Iraq and want to come home. Vote for your children who will need clean air to breathe and good schools to go to. Vote for parents so they have social security benefits and Medicare when they retire. Don’t just vote for yourself—vote for them.” “In 2008, your voice will matter. As part of a new generation of voters, 44 million strong, you have the power to change politics in this country. It’s up to you to decide who the next president of United States is. It’s up to you to decide if and when the war will end. It’s up to you decide if everyone in this country should get healthcare coverage. It’s all up to you, so let your voice be heard on Election Day.” Two examples of messaging that resonates with young voters Two other tips -Young people trust sources they view as nonpartisan. Hold back on the rhetoric. -Keep it real. We’ve got B.S. meters installed from birth. Tell us the truth, tell us what your plan is, and we’re good to go.
Rock the Vote in ‘08 Resources for Candidates Online voter registration widget The latest young voter polling Best practices - registration and GOTV Campaign toolkits “Winning Young Voters” Trainings Young voter targeting tools Issue campaigns We’ll be mobilizing young adults - we also want to ensure political campaigns, parties, and other organizations do the same.
2008 Primary Turnout (ages 18-29) 109% more 18-29 year olds voted in the 2008 primaries than in 2000 and 2004 Peter Levine
2008 18-29 year old turnout More than 23 million 18-29 year olds voted, the most young voters to ever cast a ballot; Turnout up to 52-53%, the highest since 1972; Young people favored Barack Obama by 34 points, voting for the Democratic candidate by more than a 2:1 margin.
2008 General Election 2.6 million registrations generated online