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Posts Tagged ‘presidential election’

Why Millennials Should Care About Local Politics

Just this past week, millennials turned out in record number at the New York primary. According to exit polls conducted by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE):
  • 18-29 year olds cast 408,000 ballots, making up a 14% share of total voters
  • 322,000 voted Democrat (78% of total ballots cast by 18-29 year olds)
  • 18-29 year olds split 65% to 35%, Sanders over Clinton
  • Senator Sanders commanded 81% of all 18-24 year olds
When compared to the 2008 presidential election, we saw almost 100,000 more 18-29 year olds show up to vote in New York. This runs counter to the stereotype that millennials “don’t care” about politics, and rather that they are ready to have their voices heard in this presidential election.

Millennials on average are more liberal than their older counterparts and are increasingly more frustrated with the establishment; but to make any real and lasting changes they must turn out for local elections.

While it’s amazing to see record breaking voter turnout in Presidential elections, the real nitty gritty of politics is won and lost at the local level. Local politics is a place young people have tended to avoid. For example, in the 2014 midterm elections, where no presidential race occurred, less than 20% of people between the ages 18-29 voted. Sadly, this was the lowest ever recorded.

In a poll of 1,617 people between 15-34 years old by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies found that 68% of all respondents think that politicians ignore the views of young people. In the same poll, a mere 7% said they have turned out for a political meeting.

This disconnect is real.  

Young people feel jilted, and politicians are not responding. Despite a generally negative view towards government, 64% said they would vote if they were aware of an election tomorrow. It seems both sides of the fence are stuck with inaction, except when it comes to presidential politics.  

Real consequences have stemmed from this inaction. 70% of all state legislators are majority Republican and 60% of all states have Republican Governors. If the right controls state legislators they are free to redistrict areas in their state to align with more Republican ideals. The system isn’t fair, but it can be challenged.

As previously mentioned, millennials are more liberal than older generations, but turnout less to vote. It’s going to take work on behalf of millennials to get involved, but it will also take work for politicians who share millennial values to reach out and connect.

With access to the internet rampant, there is almost no excuse to be uninformed. Here are some great websites to give individuals the knowledge necessary to get involved in local politics and make a difference.
  • Ballotpedia is a great resource to get information regarding candidates in local, state and federal elections as well as keeping up to date with ballot initiatives in your state.
  • Vote Smart formally known as Project Vote Smart, this website is a great tool to look up candidate and election information by zip code.
The next step is to get out there and push this presidential election momentum into every nook and cranny of the United States.

Since 2011, nearly one-third of 18-24 year olds’ TV viewing has migrated to the activities listed above. If politicians want to reach millennials they need to go where they are. Millennials are busy watching hilarious YouTube videos, binge watching Netflix, chatting over Facebook, obsessing over Tweets, sending stupid pictures via Snapchat, and reading hours away on Reddit.

As the political landscape evolves to accommodate the changes in media consumption politicians will have to adapt. Again, this is happening on the presidential level. Senator Bernie Sanders’ team released Snapchat geofilters before the New York primary, and a Super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton is slated to spend over $35 million on digital ads targeting millennials.  You would be hard pressed to find a state legislator who has anything more than a barely managed Facebook page — and that is a major problem.

The solution is likely meeting in the middle. The information “revolution” needs to be taken to the next level. Millennials need to know their mayors and state representatives, learning their agendas, and challenging them like what has been done on the national stage with Presidential candidates.

In turn, politicians will need to come to the middle as well. Utilization of social media and online video, speaking directly to young people in the mediums they are active within, and increasing authenticity through actions that appear less staged and more natural, will engage young people in ways they haven’t been. Continue Reading No Comments

The YouTube Election

While taking a look at the leaderboard for YouTube ads for January 2016, there are some familiar names at the top. Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and Pokémon — all popular gaming brands — control spots one through four. Gaming ads tend to perform well on YouTube, as there’s a demographic of users that spend a lot of time finding gaming content on the site.

However, politicians have begun to recognize the growing power of YouTube ads, and three of those top ten ads are political in nature. Ads from candidates Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and a PAC against Donald Trump, have received millions of views and are reaching their target audiences in ways TV ads simply cannot provide, and for a fraction of the cost.  

Using YouTube to advertise a political message works in a few different ways:

The most successful YouTube content creators are considered to be masters at responding to what their audience wants. A great example of responding to audience preference data came from Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Her advisors recognized that topics like refugees, immigration, gun control and the economy sat atop the list of search trends for political issues. Her campaign created an ad on immigration and utilized standard targeting features to reach voters who would be interested in the issue.

Some candidates are trying to get ahead of the curve by creating content on issues their audience may not even know they have, yet. During the Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders released a video describing how to caucus in quick and entertaining detail.

The more savvy political teams are recognizing the power of YouTube creator influence. Some will do interviews with creators or create videos with them outlining their positions.  

The importance of YouTube advertising cannot be overstated.
  • Nearly half of all YouTube users aged 18-49 say their personal opinions have been influenced by YouTube Creators.
  • 69 percent of the people watching political content on YouTube are under the age of 35 and half of them watch primarily from their mobile phones.
  • 110 million hours of candidate and issue related content has been watched on YouTube.

Let that sink in for a minute: That is around 12,000 years’ worth of content that has been viewed since April 2015.

A report published by Borrell Research Associates outlines the growth of political digital ad campaigns. In 2016, a whopping $1 billion will be spent on digital media run political ads. That marks a 5,000% increase from the miniscule $22.25 million spent on digital ads in 2008. YouTube alone has reported a 294% increase on political ad spending since October 2015.

According to the report, spending on digital media advertising could balloon to nearly $3.3 billion dollars by the 2020 presidential campaign. It is also noteworthy to mention that even with such large growth, the political world lags behind the private sector when it comes to spending.  

The projected $1 billion would only roughly account for 9.5 percent of campaigns overall advertising budgets. In many other industries, digital media accounts for 30 to as high as 50 percent of the money spent on ads. Private sector entities understand the vast importance of digital advertising, but as always, politics is slow to catch up. Continue Reading No Comments

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