Tales from the Trail

Midterm election enthusiasm being lost on the young

In the end, it’s all about turnout.

President Barack Obama has been trying to rev up young voters, who played a strong role in his own election, to encourage them show up at the polls on Election Day through appearances on MTV, next week’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and an interview with “Rolling Stone” magazine. USA-POLITICS/

But a Harvard University poll of voters under age 30 finds midterm enthusiasm waning as the Nov. 2 election approaches.

“In most election cycles, it is expected that interest in voting will increase as the election draws near — in the 2010 midterm elections, interest in voting among Millennials (18-29 year olds) has been decreasing over the course of our last three surveys,” the report says.

A bar graph shows that in the October survey 27 percent of young Americans said they would definitely vote in the midterms, down from 36 percent last November.

There’s been a lot of chatter about the enthusiasm gap that shows more Republicans than Democrats saying they are likely to vote in this election. But what about the generation gap?

White House adviser says Obama to energize his base for November

USA/President Barack Obama adds a new item to his first-term to-do list: energize his most loyal supporters in a national get-out-the-vote campaign for the November congressional midterm elections.

That’s the message Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett delivered on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where she predicted a robust White House campaign to encourage voters including blacks and Hispanics to get to the polls next month.

Obama has already been out trying to stir up enthusiasm among the younger voters. But that was just for starters.

Meg Whitman’s Facebook ad nets 20,000 clicks — and a message about jobs

USA/Republican Meg Whitman’s campaign says the results are in from her innovative Facebook “polling ads,” which asked Californians to choose the issue most important to them. The message came back loud and clear:  Jobs.

The Whitman campaign said its poll, which ran from July 27 to July 31, drew 20,000 Facebook respondents — with 42 percent of them saying that jobs were their number one priority in the 2010 governor’s race.  Not surprising at all in a state with double-digit unemployment.

Another 32 percent voted for fixing education in California, with 26 percent saying that cutting state spending was most critical.  Whitman, who has said that putting Californians back to work is the number one goal of her campaign, released the poll results in a Facebook video.

Meg Whitman breaks new virtual ground with Facebook ‘polling’ ads

USA-POLITICS/CALIFORNIA

In 2010 a candidate would be ill-advised to ignore the Internet, especially if he or she wants to reach younger voters who aren’t paying attention to more traditional campaigns — or, even worse, are tuning out politics entirely.

And Republican Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO who is running for California  governor against Democrat Jerry Brown,  certainly isn’t the first candidate to advertise on Facebook in hopes of tapping into its nearly 500 million users.

But Whitman’s campaign says she has become the first political candidate to use “polling ads” on Facebook — or spots that engage users, asking them to decide which issues they want to hear the candidate address.

Hawaiian ‘shaka’ greeting comes natural to Obama

USA-OBAMA/KAILUA, HI – Barack Obama may be the first U.S. president who can successfully pull off the shaka, a Hawaiian greeting Hawaiians say has various meanings, from “hang loose” and “cool” to “thanks.”
    
The hand gesture, also a common greeting in surfer culture, consists of curling the three middle fingers and extending the thumb and little finger.
    
The president-elect, looking uber-cool with his White Sox baseball cap on backwards, flipped the shaka to a crowd of about 30 people as he left a gym on a Marine Corps base on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, where he is vacationing.
    
Obama, born and largely raised on Oahu, then walked over to greet the crowd, which had waited through a brief cloudburst to see him. Righting his baseball cap as he walked, he shook hands before posing with four babies.

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Obama leaves no stone unturned, hits up MTV audience

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama may be in the lead in the polls, but he’s leaving little to chance especially among younger voters.

He went on MTV to answer questions from young voters ranging from student loans and taxes to gay marriage and whether ordinances should be passed prohibiting sagging pants — yes sagging pants.

“I think people passing a law against people wearing sagging pants is a waste of time. We should be focused on creating jobs, improving our schools, health care, dealing with the war in Iraq,” Obama said.