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Thursday, May 24, 2012

GOP Goes After Youth

Earlier posts have discussed cooling enthusiasm for Obama among young people. Crossroads Generation is   an American Crossroads project to peel off some of these voters. There is further activity, as Clare O'Connor writes at Forbes:
The College Republican National Committee has been drafted in to handle the 18-24 demographic on 1,800 college campuses; they’ve already blasted XG’s first video, Join The Movement, to their vast listservs.

The Young Republican National Federation (YRNF) is responsible for the 24-29 age group: young professionals who might have voted Obama in 2008 but have since become disaffected. They’ll handle door knocking, coordinating with each state’s Republican party and organizing surrogates as the election approaches. The partner groups will also work on media outreach — a crucial component for winning Millennials, says YRNF comms chief Soren Dayton.
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“Media statements that young people will vote for Obama have become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Dayton said. “Peer pressure develops to not be a Republican. The more people see their friends voting Republican, the more comfortable they’ll feel.”

Crossroads Generation is certainly not the only political group going after Millennials online in hopes of securing a Romney win. D.C.-based nonprofit Generation Opportunity has already spent more than XG’s $750,000 budget on marrying social media with grassroots, on-the-ground organizing. [Note:  it is a Koch operation.]

The group has 24 paid employees but is growing fast, making field staff hires in key states like Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia. And they’re huge online, says president Paul Conway. Generation Opportunity boasts more than 3 million Facebook fans, 1.5 million of whom ‘liked’ their ‘Being American’ Facebook page, where they share an average of two stories a day focused on issues plaguing the young, like gas prices and job scarcity.

Conway’s background as chief of staff for the Department of Labor means his focus is on Millennials he believes have fallen through cracks in the workforce — and that Romney can still win. These include the 1.2 million young people who have dropped out of the job market entirely, as well as returning military veterans, young parents and those learning trades. “This demographic is up for grabs,” Conway says. “And we will be as aggressive as possible.”