Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Young Voters to Have Unprecedented Impact on Presidential Election

6 May 2008 17:52 Africa/Lagos

Young Voters to Have Unprecedented Impact on Presidential Election

Reader's Digest Poll: Millennials are First Generation With Unique Political Identity; Will Match Seniors in Turnout

Obama Beats McCain by Whopping 22 Points Among 18-29 Year-Olds

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y., May 6 /PRNewswire/ --

An exclusive new poll commissioned by Reader's Digest, the most widely-read magazine in the world, finds that voters under 30, or Millennials, are changing the landscape of American politics this year, and are likely to do so for years to come.

"They are the first generation of young voters that could determine the next president, and they are using technology to do it in this Facebook Election," said Reader's Digest Washington Bureau Chief Carl M. Cannon.

Millennials in unprecedented numbers are in search of an aspirational candidate who matches their commitment to giving back and they break heavily toward Barack Obama, says Cannon. But while Millennials are more liberal than their parents, they are not easy to typecast. They are more religious than the stereotype of young liberals, with a quarter saying that religion has become more important to them in the last few years; and when replaced with the word "spiritual" that percentage climbs to one third. Millennials eschew universal health coverage, agreeing with Obama's healthcare plan and placing more emphasis on reducing the cost of health care rather than expanding access to the uninsured.

As further defined in "The Facebook Election," the accompanying piece by Cannon in the upcoming June issue of Reader's Digest, the Millennials, which encompass 47 million young adults, constitute the first generation to come of age in the 21st century. This ambitious demographic are the most frequent users of popular social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, and are heavily engaged in volunteerism. Combined, these factors could play a key role in finally allowing the young vote to determine the winner in November. Not only does this generation have the potential to shape the 2008 election, the poll findings indicate they will influence both major political parties for years to come.

Millennials have found their political voice, not only through these viral methods, but also by word of mouth. The Reader's Digest poll shows that 47 percent have tried to influence the vote of a friend, and 36% have tried to influence a parent.

According to the survey, Millennials favor Obama an eye-opening 55 percent to McCain's 33 percent in a head-to-head match-up. Clinton prevails against McCain with 49 percent to 39 percent.

"This is historically unprecedented generational appeal for a national candidate and shows that an aspirational campaign based on hope and a better future hits the Millennial's sweet spot," says Cannon.

If the candidate they support does not win the nomination, 59 percent of Millennial Democrats say they will support the nominee of the party regardless, while 16 percent will go with McCain, and 17 percent are unsure.

Bill Clinton is still admired by this generation, scoring higher approval ratings than his wife. The former president rated 57 favorable versus Sen. Clinton, who came in just under Al Gore (51) at 50. And Ralph Nader, once the standard bearer for young, socially conscious voters, has only a 17 favorable rating.

The survey was conducted for Reader's Digest by Massachusetts polling firm SocialSphere Strategies, founded by John Della Volpe, director of polling at Harvard University Institute of Politics. A total of 797 men and women between 18 and 29 years-old were surveyed online between March 10 and March 14.

The full article and more information about the poll can be found at The Facebook Election.

About Reader's Digest

Reader's Digest reaches nearly 40 million readers each month in the United States and twice as many worldwide. Its U.S. website is Reader's Digest. The magazine is published worldwide in 51 editions and 22 languages, and reaches readers in more than 60 countries. It is the flagship of The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., a global publisher and direct marketer of products that inform, entertain and inspire people of all ages and cultures around the world. Global headquarters are in Pleasantville, N.Y.

Source: Reader's Digest

CONTACT: Adam Schiff, Cassin Donn, Ann Hinshaw, Tonya Fleetwood, all of
Dan Klores Communications, +1-212-685-4300, for Reader's Digest

Web site: Reader's Digest
The Facebook Election

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