P.O. Box 93951 | Des Moines, IA 50393 | (515) 282-4193 | www.iowapirgstudents.org
For Immediate Release Contact: Sujatha Jahagirdar 323-309-6120 cell
January 3, 2008 Ellynne Bannon 202-468-7635 cell
Young Iowans Turn Out in Huge Numbers, Critical to Caucus Winners
Despite the winter break caucus date, cold temperatures, long lines and delays due to high turnout, young people flocked to the caucuses and made their voices heard.
According to CNN entrance polls, youth will account for nearly 22 percent of the Democratic caucus turnout, a five percent increase over 2004. Fifty-seven percent of youth voted for projected Democratic winner Barack Obama, while 40 percent voted for projected Republican winner Mike Huckabee.
“Young people are incredibly engaged and they turned out in force today,” said Ellynne Bannon, Director of Iowa PIRG’s New Voters Project. “Two-hundred and fifty Iowa PIRG college volunteers made five thousand personalized, peer to peer voter turnout contacts to get young people to turn out to the caucuses tonight and it worked.” Photos and student blogs from the caucuses.
Expert analysis shows that peer-to-peer, get out the vote efforts are the most effective youth turnout methods.
Young voters across the state reported rooms filled with energized and excited young voters, eager to participate in the caucuses for the first time. Young people at Iowa City Precinct 3, reported overflowing rooms filled with young voters, a shortage of seating and delays of more than 40 minutes due to unanticipated youth turnout.
“Today’s results show that while it might be winter break, the youth vote is working overtime,” said Stacey Wilson, a freshman at Drake University and student leader with Iowa PIRG’s Rock the Caucus campaign. Wilson was one of 250 student ‘Caucus Rock Star’ leaders who visited classrooms, stormed dorms and stopped students on the way to class to mobilize young people to turnout to the caucuses.
The increase in youth turnout comes despite a winter-break caucus date that made it tougher for students to participate.
“The take home message of tonight is that when young people are engaged, they will show up on Election Day,” concluded Bannon.
# # #