D and R Wonks Agree: Youth Vote Up for Grabs

They may be political opposites, but at American University Wednesday night, MSNBC  political analyst and former communications director of the DNC Karen Finney and public relations exec and GOP strategist Kevin Madden agreed the youth vote is always up for grabs. This, despite media coverage that young voters are less likely to vote this time around and have changed their political leanings out of disappointment.

“State by state, youth voting numbers are increasing,” Finney said. “Democrats and Republicans are learning how to find young people — traditional methods do not work. We have to go online to find them and that’s what we’re doing.”

Finney and Madden were panelists for AU’s American Forum, an hour-long interactive audio program with a live town-hall audience. The event, live streamed on the WashingtonPost.com’s Post Politics page and broadcast on Federal News Radio, allowed AU’s students – ranked most politically active in the nation by Princeton Review – to challenge Finney and Madden about the real motivation behind the Tea Party and the 2010 midterm elections.

“Young people had a very low view of Congress — 67 percent felt we needed a third party,” said  moderator and AU professor Jane Hall, citing analysis of young voters conducted by AU students  in CBS political analyst and renowned pollster Dotty Lynch‘s class. Analysis was released during the forum.

“Young people, old people, alive people, dead people — everyone hates Congress now,” said Madden, also former press secretary to Gov. Mitt Romney‘s presidential campaign and former press secretary to House Minority Leader John Boehner.

When presented with a question from the live Tweet wall …

Finney and Madden agreed that Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart‘s Rally to Restore Sanity and Stephen Colbert‘s March to Restore Fear on October 30 will not impact the election.

“They won’t help or hurt, the dynamic has already been set,” said Madden.

(Many thanks to Maggie Barrett, Public Information Officer for American University, for the content of this post.)