CBS’s Rodriguez: The Impact of the Youth Vote, For Democrats

On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez reported on the importance of the youth vote in the 2008 election, but seemed unable to find any young people who supported Republican candidates: "Young voters are having a huge impact on this election. Exit polls show 14% of registered Democrats who voted on Super Tuesday were under 30. The majority went for Obama."

Rodriguez, who was on assignment in California, made a trip to UCLA and talked solely to young supporters of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton: "22-year-old Natalie Gonzalez is a Clinton supporter. Why are you so excited about this?...Curtis Whatley is supporting Obama."

Rodriguez also discussed the importance of the internet in attracting young voters, once again something only Democrats seem to do:

Call them the Facebook generation. 18 to 29-year-olds who are going face-to-face, chatting on-line, sharing opinions. More than 50 million strong. They're a potential gold mine for the candidate who can connect with them. There are videos like this one [shows a clip of an Obama video on-line] seen and heard by 11 million people in just one week.

Rodriguez did make brief mention of young supporters of Republican candidates, their kids: "Also on the rise is the presence of the candidate's kids. Chelsea Clinton, Meagan McCain, Romney's five sons, and Sarah Huckabee."

This was quickly followed by highlighting celebrity endorsements for Obama and Clinton:

And the influence of celebrities galvanizing the younger generations. Usher campaigning for Obama. Magic Johnson courting voters with Clinton. So while the field of candidates is winnowing down, the power of the youth vote is growing up.

Finally, Rodriguez cited well-known political expert Sean (P Diddy) Combs: "This week rap mogul Sean Combs, who has a huge following, called the young adult vote 'a sleeping giant.'"

Combs’ 2004 "Vote or Die" campaign to encourage the youth vote had little impact upon the presidential race.

Here is the full transcript:

8:31AM SEGMENT:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: This exciting presidential campaign has roused interest among one group of voters normally not known for their participation, young adults. Surveys show the percentage of Americans between 18 and 29 paying attention to the campaign has grown from 13% in 2000 to 42% in 2004 and, get this, 74% this year. What's behind this increase? Last night I met up with some students at UCLA. At colleges across the country young voters like these were glued to the TVs. 22-year-old Natalie Gonzalez is a Clinton supporter. Why are you so excited about this?

NATALIE GONZALEZ: Just as a young woman voter in California, seeing how young people everywhere are just so excited to vote.

RODRIGUEZ: Curtis Whatley is supporting Obama.

CURITS WHATLEY: Finally there's a campaign where America feels like it's not the politician's campaign. It's our campaign. We're sick and tired of being sick and tired.

RODRIGUEZ: Call them the Facebook generation. 18 to 29-year-olds who are going face-to-face, chatting on-line, sharing opinions. More than 50 million strong. They're a potential gold mine for the candidate who can connect with them. There are videos like this one seen and heard by 11 million people in just one week.

DAVID BIRDSELL: That's one of the things that makes web campaigning so exciting. We're watching people, new people, participating in the process and changing the way we understand politics.

RODRIGUEZ: Young voters are having a huge impact on this election. Exit polls show 14% of registered Democrats who voted on Super Tuesday were under 30. The majority went for Obama.

BARACK OBAMA: Thank you.

RODRIGUEZ: In fact, the youth vote played a key role in propelling Obama to victory in Iowa. Young voter turnout there rose 135% from 2004.

CHELSEA CLINTON: Hi, Cathy. Chelsea. Nice to meet you.

RODRIGUEZ: Also on the rise is the presence of the candidate's kids. Chelsea Clinton, Meagan McCain, Romney's five sons, and Sarah Huckabee. And the influence of celebrities galvanizing the younger generations. Usher campaigning for Obama. Magic Johnson courting voters with Clinton. So while the field of candidates is winnowing down, the power of the youth vote is growing up.

WHATLEY: A lot of times we get a bad rap for not participating. We're participating. We're here. We're speaking out. Nobody can take that away from us.

RODRIGUEZ: This week rap mogul Sean Combs, who has a huge following, called the young adult vote 'a sleeping giant.'

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC