Contact
Archives
Search
Blogs
Newspaper Blogs
English-Language
Press
Polls

May 23, 2003

VOTING....Martha Paskoff writes in The American Prospect today about the astounding success of American Idol. Why, she asks, are young viewers willing to vote in huge numbers for their favorite singers, but unwilling to vote in regular elections?

Because a single vote doesn't make a difference? Nah, Florida put the lie to that, and besides, the voting on Idol was very close. Because of negative campaigning? Nah, the nastier Simon Cowell got, the better the show did. Because it's too hard to vote? Hmmm, to vote on American Idol you only had to pick up your phone. Maybe that's it.

Nah, that's not it either. Maybe it's this:

Finally, American Idol self-consciously marketed itself to young Americans, and political candidates need to begin doing the same. This doesn't mean presidential aspirants have to speak on glitzy stages, put blond highlights in their hair or employ navel-baring campaign workers. But it does mean they need to address issues that are important to young Americans, such as reducing student debt, making home ownership more accessible and promoting tax policies that will benefit those just entering the workforce.

That's closer to the truth, but still not quite there. I think a lot of young people don't vote because they simply don't believe that it matters who wins the election. Neither candidate is likely to produce the results they talk about, so why bother?

Voting on American Idol, on the other hand, produces a very clear result: the person you think is a better singer wins. And they have a single available in the music stores within a week.

A candidate who want to increase support among young voters, then, has to do two things. First, talk about things they care about. Second, and more important, convince them that they can actually deliver. That part is much harder, I think.

Posted by Kevin Drum at May 23, 2003 12:24 PM | TrackBack


Comments

I have a few problems with some of the assumptions.

...American Idol self-consciously marketed itself to young Americans...

On Entertainment Tonight, they claimed the success of the show was related to using older songs, which caused parents and older adults to watch it with their children.

For those who watched it, think about the demographics of the people they talked to on the street. They had a broad mix of young and old.

In my view, they played to the spectrum.

...the person you think is a better singer wins...

If you believe the press reports, the fix was in for Ruben.

Actually, I think there are very few political lessons to be learned from American Idol.

Posted by: MyNameIsFred at May 23, 2003 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

If you believe the press reports, the fix was in for Ruben.

The only problem with that little conspiracy theory is that he was, consistently, the best singer on that stage. Did the judges favor him? You bet. They thought he was the best one up there.

Posted by: John Yuda at May 23, 2003 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps it's because voting for who you think sings best is inherently less complex a decision than who you should vote for for your representative in government? The number of issues you have to follow alone is staggering, at each level of your life, and most people just don't have or take the time to consider them beyond a nebulous idea of what they want.

And I really do think that the ease of voting definitely has a hell of a lot to do with it.

Posted by: Kenneth G. Cavness at May 23, 2003 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

I think it is pretty simple--the same reason people watch sitcoms more than the news, or attend sporting events more than political ones--entertainment is more appealling than politics (although, I will grant that politics can be pretty entertaining). I see no big mystery here.

Posted by: Steven at May 23, 2003 01:04 PM | PERMALINK

Not to nitpick, but Kevin makes a slight error in his wording.

I think a lot of young people don't vote because they simply don't believe that it matters who wins the election.

Unless I no longer count as a young person at 27, I feel I am entitled to say that the reason about half the people I know don't vote during the Presidential election and most of the people I know don't vote in off years is not that they feel it doesn't matter who wins but that it doen't matter enough. That is an important distinction. Everyone with a brain knows that the two candidates are not identical human beings - we're not choosing between Kang and Kodos - but young people do a cost/benefit analysis and come to the conclusion that the difference is not great enough to merit mustering the effort to vote.

The result ends up being the same: young people don't vote. Kevin's reasoning is too simplistic, though.

Posted by: Mitch Schindler at May 23, 2003 01:17 PM | PERMALINK

1. one vote doesn't matter. since most states are winner-take-all with respect to the Electors, a vote for the minority candidate is pointless.

2. everyone knows politicans are liars. you know this even if you don't pay attention, and you know it if you do pay attention.

3. everyone knows the inertia of government is so large that it's unlikely one person is going to make much of a difference. GWB may be gutting things now, but they turn out to be important to people, they'll come back soon enough.

friday quittin time $0.02

Posted by: ChrisL at May 23, 2003 01:31 PM | PERMALINK

I think Kevin hits some important notes here in terms of perceived lack of effect...but I also think there's something to the idea of feeling excluded from the discourse. If you think about it, most issues of specific concern to young people (education financing, national service, drug policy, etc.) are pitched by politicians as parents' issues. The whole discussion implies that the young person is not the primary decision maker in issues that affect him or her very seriously. It's actually pretty patronizing -- I can absolutely see why kids would tune it out.

(I'm not saying these issues don't or shouldn't involve parents--and they're similar for kids under and over voting age, of course. But if you're 20 and you're hearing the debate framed in terms of what "we" should do for/about "our children", well, you probably don't feel too much like anybody's likely to take your opinion as the principal into account.)

Posted by: Charisse at May 23, 2003 01:38 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if it might have been due to who could vote. According to the AI website FAQ page:

Who Can Vote? Anyone calling from within Continental US, Hawaii and Alaska can cast their vote for the next American Idol.

That means if you could dial a phone, you could vote. In politics, there is an age requirement.

Posted by: Goof Beyou at May 23, 2003 01:38 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Goof that the kid vote accounts for part of this. Add to that the fact that you can vote as many times as you want for the American Idol (if your call can get through). Only once for the American President.

Something like 25mm votes were cast for AI. Take out the under 18 votes and the duplicate votes and I'm sure it's a lot less than 25mm adults voting on Tuesday.

Posted by: denise at May 23, 2003 01:51 PM | PERMALINK

Sharpton-Olivares 2004!

Posted by: Lonewacko at May 23, 2003 02:00 PM | PERMALINK

But voting for American Idol is as easy as making a phone call. You don't even have to talk to anyone. To vote in an election, you have to register and go outside and stuff...

Posted by: 90210 at May 23, 2003 02:39 PM | PERMALINK

American Idol is yea/nay voting. People feel qualified to know what they like. Much of political electioneerinng is designed to confuse. Opposing candidates say the other is lying. They say the other is the reason of our dire straights. They say say the other is going to bring us to ruin. They are taught not to vote by the politicians themselves.

Posted by: LowLife at May 23, 2003 02:53 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, it could be that politicians aren't interested in having young people vote -- or increasing the voting population in any way at all!

More voters means more ads, more money, more fudging and tap-dancing. It's in the politicians' interest to have fewer people voting.

It's like juries: lawyers don't want critical thinkers on juries; they want dull, emotionally reactive people who are easily led.

An electorate of single-issue voters and morons would, I think, suit most politicians just fine.

Posted by: bleh at May 23, 2003 03:03 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure I grant the premise of the article. How many young people vote in elections?

OK, that's about 8 million. Now, how many voted in American Idol?

Meanwhile, the same young people who have so regularly and enthusiastically cast millions of American Idol ballots are, by and large, unlikely to vote in real elections.

Um, millions. How many millions? Three? Twenty? A little googling turns up this claim that "More than 24 million votes were received," but those weren't all young people. I suppose if much more than a third of them were, it would give us the Paskoff's premise.

Posted by: Avram at May 23, 2003 03:34 PM | PERMALINK

A few points..

From my personal experience, AI was more of an all-ages thing, if only balanced by the amount of old music sang on it. I'm sure it's not just my experience that attracted a lot of older singers. (Actually that's why I think Rueben won..he reminded a lot of older people of the old days of music)

As it comes to political voting, I think it's strictly an issue thing. And not the issues you would expect. Most young non-voters WOULD vote Democratic, in my experience...except for Tipper Gore and her PMCA comittee..and Lieberman's crusade against video games..and more and more in Washington, both parties being percieved as being in the pockets of the media giants.

There is some truth to this..(however the GOP are worse in this regard)..but all the same, what needs to be done is the breech needs to be mended. Some hot-shots need to stop being so damned condencending, and start trying to make easy points with the suburban parental voters.

Posted by: Glenn at May 23, 2003 03:47 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Bleh - the powers that be want as few of us to vote as possible. The most valuable thing the Democrats could do would be to start a relentless get-out-the-vote campaign immediately. The level of marketing required is so easy and relatively inexpensive that it leads me to believe that the only reason they don't do it is because they don't want us voting either.

Posted by: casadelogo at May 23, 2003 04:51 PM | PERMALINK

I think that the more politicians of both parties talk about "prescription drugs" and "preserving Social Security" and "demographic trends" the more it turns off young people. They could not care less about these issues and they shrug them off. This leaves the politicians chasing the votes of the people who care about "prescription drugs"...etc. Vicious cycle. If the discussion were framed in terms that young people understand, it would make a difference. For example: if Social Security is gone, you may have to support your parents through an extended retirement. If the budget deficit grows exponentially, it will influence the amount of capital available/interest rates when you join the work force. You get the idea. Frankly, a 20 year old has no reason whatsoever to care about elected officials right now.

Posted by: Ana in DC at May 23, 2003 05:34 PM | PERMALINK

The first election I was old enough to vote in was Bush v. Gore, and I chose not to. As Charisse addressed, unless you're over the age of 30 or so, candidates don't seem to take my generation seriously. When we *are* addressed we're depicted as GTA III playing, MP3 stealing, test-failing, sinful, promiscious dangers to the wellness of our christian state. Hell, at least Bush ignores us, a Lieberman in office is less desirable to me, a social conservative.

My disordered 2 cents

Posted by: Gabe at May 23, 2003 09:36 PM | PERMALINK

online casinos

Posted by: doi at May 24, 2004 09:08 AM | PERMALINK


Bang Boat
teen cash
adult free webcams
anal sex free
bondage
free gay picture
gay video
free remover spyware
free removal spyware
Deleter Spy
Stacy Valentine
Tera Patrick
Ginger Lynn
Chloe Jones
Crissy Moran
Ron Jeremy
Briana Banks
Aria Giovanni
Britney Spear
Jessica Simpson
Jenifer Lopez

free web cam free live web cam free chat with web cam free sex web cam adult free web cam free nude web cam free girl web cam free web cam site free porn web cam free gay web cam free xxx web cam free teen web cam free web cam chat room free amateur web cam free web cam pic free adult live web cam free adult web cam chat live sex web cam free free personal web cam free live nude web cam free live girl web cam free live web cam chat web cam live free personal cam free view web free web cam picture free sex chat web cam free online web cam cam free viewing web free web cam software free lesbian web cam free web cam community cam free watch web free web cam video free live web cam site free web cam host free sexy web cam free web cam hosting free live web cam porn free naked web cam free web cam of woman free home web cam free live xxx web cam free adult web cam site free nude web cam chat cam free totally web cam free movie web cam chat free teen web free web cam chat site free asian web cam free black web cam voyeur web cam free free streaming web cam free web cam pussy free live teen web cam free web cam show free gay live web cam free private web cam cam free web yahoo web cam free ware cam chatting free web cam free gallery web free teen web cam pic free nude teen web cam free live web cam show free male web cam cam free live web woman cam free now web cam free membership no web cam college free web free live web cam amateur access cam free web cam dating free web free shemale web cam free sex web cam site cam free sample web cam download free web cam free room web cam free no registration web free adult web cam community free gay web cam chat cam chat free girl web cam free girl girl live web free hidden web cam free naked woman web cam free erotic web cam free hardcore web cam cam code display free web cam free mature web free web cam broadcast cam free preview web cam chat free online web free college girl web cam free live lesbian web cam cam free skin web free gay male web cam cam free man web free porn web cam chat cam free service web free nude woman web cam free web cam sex show free sex web cam video free adult sex web cam free online sex web cam free teen sex web cam free gay sex web cam free web cam sex amateur free private web cam sex home web cam sex free free web cam cyber sex free couple sex web cam free lesbian sex web cam free hardcore sex web cam cam free sex watch web free sex web cam pic cam free movie sex web cam free free sex web cam free sex view web free sex web cam sample free black sex web cam free nude web cam pic free amateur nude web cam cam free nude sexy web cam free non nude web free nude web cam site free adult nude web cam free nude man web cam free nude web cam show cam free live nude web woman free nude beach web cam free nude gay web cam free nude web cam at home free nude web cam picture cam free nude preview web cam free nude video web cam free girl hot web free web cam teen girl cam free girl pic web cam free girl online web black cam free girl web cam free girl watch web free adult girl web cam asian cam free girl web cam free girl video web cam free girl picture web cam free girl web young cam cam free free girl web web cam free girl totally web cam free girl show web cam free gallery girl web cam free girl real web cam free free girl web cam free live online web free live streaming web cam cam free live web free home live web cam cam free live secretfriends-com web cam free live totally web free live sexy web cam free live naked web cam cam free live watch web cam free live view web cam cam free free live web web cam feed free live web cam free live private web cam free live naked web woman cam community free live web amsterdam cam free live web cam free host live web free live pussy web cam asian cam free live web hot live free web cam cam free live now web cam female free live web cam free free live web amateur cam free live web xxx animal cam free live web cam free hidden live web cam free live preview web free live voyeur web cam cam ebony free live web cam free live password web cam free live shemale web free xxx web cam chat free web cam video chat cam chat free lesbian web cam chat free private web cam chat free program web cam chat free web cam chat free naked web cam chat free naughty web cam chat free web yahoo cam chat free totally web cam chat free software web cam chat free kid web cam chat free line web free amateur web cam and chat cam chat free free web cam chat college free web cam chat community free web cam chat free msn web best cam chat free web free porn web cam site free teen porn web cam cam com free porn web cam free online porn web free adult porn web cam cam free porn video web cam free porn web xxx free amateur porn web cam free gay porn web cam cam free porn watch web free xxx web cam site cam free teen web xxx free adult xxx web cam free amateur xxx web cam free teen web cam gallery cam free teen video web free gay teen web cam cam free site teen web cam free teen web young free amateur teen web cam free teen web cam picture free amateur web cam site free amateur adult web cam free gay amateur web cam free amateur web cam pic free sex cam free live sex cam free sex cam chat free live sex cam chat free sex video cam free sex spy cam free online sex cam free amateur sex cam free hidden sex cam free teen sex cam free adult sex cam free live sex chat web cam free gay sex cam cam com free live sex web free home sex cam free live teen sex cam free sex voyeur cam free lesbian sex cam free asian sex cam com cam free sex free private sex cam free sex cam site free nude sex cam free live sex video cam free sex cam sample free live web cam sex show adult cam chat free sex web free sex cam show anal cam free live sex sex cam chat free room sex web free live sex cam feed cam free home private sex web cam free movie sex cam free lesbian live sex amsterdam cam free sex cam free sex watch cam free livefeeds sex cam free latina sex free live sex cam show adult cam free live sex free hardcore sex cam amsterdam cam free live sex free couple sex cam free hot sex cam cam free membership no sex free porn sex cam free sex spy cam pic cam free gratis sex cam free live sex site web free streaming sex cam live sex voyeur cam for free girl web cam live web cam girl college girl web cam teen girl web cam hot web cam girl web cam girl pic young web cam girl cam chat girl web web cam girl picture black cam girl web asian girl web cam girl home web cam cam girl web yahoo girl personal web cam real web cam girl cam girl online web school girl web cam cam chat girl live web cam girl high school web web cam girl gallery cam girl video web cam girl hot live web cam girl little web cam college girl live web cam girl in web cam cam girl web cam girl horny web teenage girl web cam cam caught girl web web cam girl archive cam girl naughty web japanese girl web cam girl private web cam cam girl msn web cam girl photo web arab cam girl web cam cute girl web cam fat girl web cam girl indian web cam flashing girl web girl web cam site cam girl stripping web cam girl goth web cam girl watch web cam free girl streamate web cam dorm girl web cam girl girl web cam girl gratis web girl web cam adult cam flexing girl web cam free girl girl web cam girl gone web wild collage girl web cam cam girl korean web cam free girl view web alone cam girl home web cam canadian girl web cam girl russian web cam girl single web top 100 girl web cam teen girl web cam pic cam girl voyeur web cam girl home live web cam girl latina web cam french girl web cam girl secret web action cam girl web australian cam girl web cam girl strip web cam free girl preview web cam free girl horny web cam girl stripping teen web cam girl pic web young cam girl preteen web cam girl talk web cam girl index web cam girl kissing web cam girl local web cam girl teen web young web cam sex live sex web cam web cam sex chat teen sex web cam sex gratis web cam amateur web cam sex gay sex web cam live web cam sex chat adult sex web cam adult cam direct sex web web cam sex chat room video sex web cam sex web cam site home sex web cam web cam sex show cam online sex web live sex show web cam web cam cyber sex asian sex web cam web cam sex pic lesbian web cam sex hot sex web cam couple sex web cam cam college sex web cam sex web yahoo cam hidden sex web amsterdam cam sex web black sex web cam web cam sex com cam membership no sex web live adult sex web cam web cam sex gratuit cam pal pay sex web cam friend secret sex web adult cam chat sex web free sex porn web cam oral sex web cam cam having people sex web cam dating sex web cam live secretefriends sex web xxx sex web cam cam msn sex web nude sex web cam cam sex watch web cam cam free sex web group sex web cam cam sample sex web sex voyeur web cam cam couple live sex web com cam sex web free nude sex web cam
Bang Boat
Bang Boat
Bang Boat
Bang Boat

Posted by: Nick at July 26, 2004 11:35 AM | PERMALINK
Navigation
Contribute to Calpundit



Advertising
Powered by
Movable Type 2.63

Site Meter