On Saturday, the Obama 2012 campaign officially launched with rallies held at Ohio State and Virginia Commonwealth University. Amy Gardner and Felicia Sonmez of the Washington Post offered details on the Obama campaign’s strategy in targeting and recruiting college students:
Like many of Obama’s 2008 events, the rallies were intended to showcase the campaign’s technological firepower and to engage supporters and gather information about them to be used through November. Staged on two college campuses, the campaign especially targeted young voters with a sophisticated outreach through social networks.
Campaign workers carried iPads to collect names, contact information and details about what constituencies — such as women, veterans and minority voters — they would most like to help organize. Large screens displayed comments and pictures from supporters and urged them to follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.
As I have discussed in past posts, with so many media choices available to them, young voters who lack an interest in politics can easily avoid most news about the presidential campaign. And likely adding to their avoidance is the increasingly opinionated and polarized nature of political media. As a result, to reach, recruit, and mobilize young voters the Obama team and Democrats generally are forced to rely heavily on texting, social media, web targeting, and emails.