With just one year to go until the 2012 elections, candidates are already setting up campaign headquarters and producing new advertising campaigns to lure voters to their side of the political line. Although just 42 percent of all eligible American voters turned out in last year’s Mid-term election, with next year being a General Election year, voter turnout will undoubtedly be higher, especially if youth voters turnout in the high numbers we saw in 2008.
With more young people reveling in digital communications and using social networks to stay up-to-date on issues, more campaigns are reaching out to these voters by speaking to them through online chat platforms and social media debates.
Just last week, Mashable reported that Fox News will be hosting a series of debates through Google+ Hangouts, something sure to resonate with younger, digital voters. Previous Google+ Hangout debates have garnered more than 6.1 million viewers according to Nielsen and received more than 18,000 questions for the candidates.
Digital political engagement doesn’t end there, though. Individually, several candidates have realized the influence of social networks not only on the under 30 segment, but also on those digitally active boomers. As a result, several candidates like Mitt Romney and John Thune have set up active accounts on spaces like Twitter and Facebook and may consider further moves into places like Google+ or Pinterest. Other platforms are also under development to connect voters with the issues that matter most to them in a more streamlined, mobile way.
With the average American population spending 21.7 hours online every week and the expected increase of mobile devices over the next year, the opportunities to reach potential voters in newer, more robust online spaces are huge. Candidates who connect with their audience not only through similar issues and causes, but also the evolving mediums will garner the most respect from their followers and possibly increase their political reach across several social and digital spheres in just a short time.