Iowa is one of six states targeted by a nonpartisan group from Washington, D.C. that’s trying to get more young people to vote. David Skaggs, the executive director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, is holding workshops today (Thursday) to teach candidates how to reach out to young voters.He says there’s an awful lot of conventional wisdom that candidates shouldn’t pay attention to young people, because young people don’t vote. On the flip side, he says young people say they don’t vote because the candidates don’t pay attention to them. He says they’re trying to break the cycle of self-fulfilling expectations. Skaggs says younger voters aren’t that different from others.He says they’re concerned about the same issues as older voters, and he says they can be a link to older voters, which he says is counterintuitive, as he says older people are more favorably disposed to candidates that spend some time with younger people. Skaggs says there’s evidence that efforts to bring out younger voters will work. He says there was a big boost in younger voter participation in the Iowa Caucuses, and the New Hampshire primaries. He says the other states showed a mixed bag in getting younger voters out. Skaggs says a candidate can make some impact with younger voters just by trying. He says from the candidate’s point of view, the most single thing to do is to ask. He says taking them seriously and talking to them about the issues is the critical ingredient. Skaggs says the votes of younger people are wide open for both the major parties.He says he won’t pretend this is a bland block of young people that don’t have any attitude about anything. From a partisan point of view he says the younger voters are almost split in half, with 32-percent saying they’re democrats, 29-percent republican, and the rest unaffiliated. But Skaggs says even those that name a party aren’t as strongly established in their party affiliation as older voters.
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