Will Young Voters Turn Out Again?

Democrats are spending a huge chunk of precious campaign cash—$50 million—in a plan to reach out to the new voters who turned out to vote for President Obama two years ago. As a rule, far fewer people vote in off-year elections and parties focus on getting out the unglamorous base, which usually consists of lots of old folks. But this time the Democrats are working hard to get 2008’s 15 million new (mostly young and minority) voters excited enough to go to the polls, while making another registration push. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD.), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, calls it a “great experiment.” But many in the party worry that the strategy has no chance without a candidate like Obama on the top of the ticket. Most voter enthusiasm also seems to be among Republicans, whose campaign strategists are scoffing at their opponents’ plan.