Come on, children, come on clap your hands!

Greetings everyone! I’m John Z., the Washington, D.C. Team Leader for HeadCount. Thanks for checking out our blog!

Like many of our volunteers, unfortunately I have a day job that doesn’t entail going to concerts. Luckily, however, I work at small polling firm that does public opinion research. While most of our work is on behalf of our corporate clients, I do spend at least a day each week looking at polling data for the upcoming election. I figured I’d use this space to share some interesting findings from the world of polling that relate to you, the Young Voters who are Our Future (sorry for the cheesy turn of phrase, it was too tempting).

I thought I’d draw your attention to a story from today’s New York Times that portrays today’s primary contest between Obama and Clinton as a generational struggle. Exit polling data from the previous Democratic primaries does support the seemingly-obvious notion that young voters break for the young candidate. Why do you think that is? My opinion is that it’s mostly due to the simple appeal of a young candidate who just seems like someone intelligent who you’d want to get to know, but I also think Obama’s deft use of the Internet to both spread his campaign message virally and raise record amounts of money to pour back into those efforts has allowed him to energize young voters.

If all politics is generational, then these are exciting times to be a young voter. This awesome, in-depth report from Rock the Vote and CIRCLE shows that a historic number of young people voted in the 2006 midterms. The 9% surge over 2002 shows that young people are increasingly engaged and participating in the political process. There’s also a bunch of other encouraging data about the youth and minority voter turnout. In a time when elections are decided by a few hundred thousand votes, getting out and voting matters more than ever.

All sorts of socio-cultural theories have been floated as to why Generation X has the lowest turnout of any cohort of voters when in the 18-29 year old range, but they’re no more than (sometimes educated) guesses. Why do you think people under 29 are voting in record numbers? If you chose not to vote in previous elections but have voted in this primary or are volunteering with HeadCount, why did you choose to get involved?

If you ever have any questions about polling data or methodology or about something you read or see in the news, feel free to email me at [email protected] and I will gladly answer them on this blog. I’ll be back later with some more polling-related stuff.

One little disclaimer: anything written here is solely my own opinion and is not that of either HeadCount or the Lombardo Consulting Group.