Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee may owe a debt to young people for their victories in last night's Iowa caucuses. Youth voter turnout tripled from 2004, with 65,000 people ages 17 through 29 turning out for the caucuses.
But youth organizers are unsure whether the story will be repeated in New Hampshire next Tuesday.
"It's just hard to know right now," Kat Barr of Rock the Vote tells U.S. News. "I've seen the campaigns doing some youth voter outreach in New Hampshire, but ... the vast majority of it was focused on Iowa."
The same goes for her own organization. Rock the Vote invested its resources heavily in Iowa. But "we're not on the ground in New Hampshire. The fact that colleges will still be on winter break during the New Hampshire primaries could also suppress turnout, though in Iowa that was an obstacle many students overcame. Now, activists expect campaigns to more aggressively court New Hampshire youth to build support, even without the help of groups like Rock the Vote.
"It's up to campaigns to reach out to [youth voters] in the next several days and ask for their votes," Barr says. There is reason for optimism. In 2004, the youth vote in New Hampshire was the highest in more than a decade, according to Student PIRGs' New Voters Project.