Barack Obama's victory in Iowa was marked by heavy participation by young and first-time caucusers. The San Francisco Chronicle takes note that this may mark the first time that politicians talk about bringing in young voters actually materialized on the ground.
The Obama campaign "had a candidate who spoke to the issues that mattered to young people and they combined online outreach with on-the-ground, in-person contact," said Kat Barr, education director for the nonpartisan Rock the Vote and a nationally recognized youth voter expert who was in Iowa for the caucuses.
But key to the breakthrough, the Chronicle's Joe Garofoli says, was Facebook.
Obama's campaign had three times the number of Facebook supporters (more than 182,000) as his nearest Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and also dominated his competitors in terms of friends on MySpace. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, has the most online support among GOP candidates, and attracted 21 percent of the under-30 vote in Iowa; however, he garnered single-digit support among those over 30.
But that's not enough. Interestingly, perhaps because online connections are so common, young people actually respond more to face-to-face pitches. Or perhaps just everyone does.
In any case, the other campaigns have taken note and are calling MTV to get into the latest youth-oriented media event.
MTV's Ian Rowe said "several of the top-tier campaigns from both sides" called the network Friday morning wanting to know when they could participate in the next "Presidential Dialogue" that the youth-oriented network has been co-sponsoring with online giant MySpace. So far, only Obama, Edwards and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have participated, even though all the campaigns were invited weeks ago.