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Gen Y Voters Best Reached Online, Expect Next President To Communicate Via Web

More than 42 million members of Generation Y could vote in the upcoming presidential election and the best way to reach them is online. That's according to MeriTalk, a site devoted to technology and public policy.
More than 42 million members of Generation Y could vote in the upcoming presidential election and the best way to reach them is online. That's according to MeriTalk, a site devoted to technology and public policy.MeriTalk recently polled more than 2,200 baby boomers and members of Gen Y from 10 U.S. cities and found that 73% of respondents in the younger generation plan to vote for the next president.

Eighty-eight percent of the Gen Y respondents said they would get their information online over the next four years.

Only 48% identified themselves as Democrats, and just 15% said they feel a personal connection to their government.

Seventy-five percent said they would vote across party lines, and 47% said they would tell others why they support their candidate.

That highlights the importance of e-campaigns, although 71% of the Gen Y respondents said they believe a Democratic candidate would best lead the White House through the next term.

The report also gives some clues as to how the next president can maintain support among young voters.

"While Ys appear to be leaning heavily Democratic, their votes and long-term loyalty are in play if the candidates can make them feel part of government," Alan Balutis, distinguished fellow and director of North American Public Sector Consulting for the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group said. "The election isn't the finish line for Generation Y. It's the starting block."

MeriTalk, a relatively new government professional networking portal, found that 46% of Generation Y poll respondents expect the next president to interact with them online.

Twenty-six percent want the next president to reach out to them on YouTube.

Gen Ys are much more likely to get their news through word-of-mouth (82%) than boomers (56%). They also expect more transparency from the government and better access to their leaders.

Jeff Chao, IT specialist of Integrated Technology Services for the U.S. General Services Administration, said Ys will be demanding and push for "two-way, detailed, and honest communication with the president and his administration."

"It's not E-Gov to them. It's My-Gov," he explained.

And, Chao says, TV won't satisfy their needs for instant information and interaction.

For more information on how younger voters learn about, and participate in, politics and government, you can check out MeriTalk's report, "Generation Y's Bill of Rights." (The site requires registration.)

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