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Influence of Popular Media on Youth: Politics


No popular culture event had a bigger impact on politics in 2004. ... Second, they distrust elected officials and are cynical about politics. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Influence of Popular Media on Youth: Politics

Influence of Popular Media on Youth Politics
Effect of Popular Culture
  • Popular culture has more influence than
  • Popular culture tends to polarize the

Pop Culture Events and the 2004 Election
Janet Jacksons Super Bowl performance had a
distinct impact on the 2004 election.
  • No popular culture event had a bigger impact on
    politics in 2004. The Right is energized, using
    this event as a launching pad to question the
    moral fabric of America.
  • Ramifications
  • The FCC fines Viacom 550,00
  • The FCC changes the amount of fines levied to
    first offenders from 32,500 up to 500,000
  • Shock jock Howard Stern is dropped in six markets
    by Clear Channel communications as the media
    giant fears more fines.

During the live taping of the Super Bowl, Janet
Jacksons right breast is exposed when Justin
Timberlake pulls off part of her costume.
Jackson and Timberlake call it a wardrobe
Fahrenheit 9/11 The Two Hour Political
  • 2004 was the first Presidential election where
    motion pictures were used as political
  • Ramifications
  • The film further polarizes the country. Many see
    it as false and inflammatory, while others view
    it as an eye-opening look at the Bush
  • Although very popular with Democratic base voters
    and moviegoers under 30, the film galvanizes the
    Right and fails to persuade voters to turn Bush
    out of office. To many voters, Michael Moore
    typifies Democrats ties to Hollywood culture.

Michael Moore releases the controversial film
Fahrenheit 9/11. The film breaks records in its
opening weekend and has grossed 119 million to
Gay culture hits the mainstream, but does not
prevent gay marriage backlash.
  • Although shows featuring homosexuals like Queer
    Eye for the Straight Guy and Will and Grace are
    popular on TV, America was not ready to be so
    accepting in their communities.
  • Ramifications
  • Pro-gay marriage measures fail in all 11 states
    where they appear on the ballot. The Right
    rallies around this issue to turn out their
    voters and moral values becomes a top reason
    people voted for Bush in the 2004 election.
    Democrats are associated with Hollywood culture.

Shows such as Will and Grace and Queer Eye for
the Straight Guy achieve high ratings with
straight audiences.
Celebrities tied and untied the knot.
  • 2004 marked the year of celebrity marriages and
    divorces. From Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anistons
    break up to Britney Spears 55 hour Las Vegas
    marriage - you could not miss these stories on
    the news.
  • Ramifications
  • Proponents of gay marriage used these to question
    the sanctity of traditional marriage.
  • Republicans used these to further stay on the
    moral values message.
  • Democrats are kept on the defensive on faith and
    family values.

Fake news becomes the real deal.
  • Ramifications
  • Millions of younger viewers are turning to this
    show for their political information which takes
    shots at politicians across the board, but is
    highly critical of Bush and considered
  • Politicians are turning to the Daily Show to move
    younger voters while avoiding Meet the Press.

John Stewarts the Daily Show greatly increases
its ratings and popularity for its coverage of
the 2004 Election. The popularity of the
well-written show makes Stewart an overnight
political analyst and a top selling author.
Sex in the City says goodbye.
  • Sex in the City portrayed unmarried women as
    strong and independent.
  • Ramifications
  • Unmarried women become a formidable voting bloc
    and a key Democratic persuasion target. The surge
    in youth turnout is young women
  • Jenna Bush uses an awkward Sex in the City
    analogy about her grandmother during the GOP
    Convention and she is not heard from for the rest
    of the campaign.

The popular HBO show depicting the lives of
relatively affluent single women in New York
ended its six year run in 2004.
Hip Hop makes its move into politics.
  • Rap artists were visible during the 2004
    elections, especially in turning out younger
    African Americans.
  • Ramifications
  • African American turnout increases and youth
    turnout increases, however it is not enough for
    John Kerry and other Democrats.
  • Young voters, both male and female, are the age
    group that vote more for Democrats.

Sean P Diddy Combs makes his presence known
with this Vote or Die campaign during the 2004
Ronald Reagans death reminds voters about stem
cell research, but it also reinforces the image
of strong foreign policy that helps Bush.
  • Ramifications
  • Stem cell research gains momentum in the 2004
    election with both Nancy and Ronald Reagan Jr.
    calling for increased funding for research.
  • Ronald Reagan Jr. speaks at the Democratic
    Convention on this issue, but does not mention
    Bush specifically.
  • Bush, although weak on stem cell research, is
    unaffected in the election as stem cell research
    is a bottom tier concern for voters.
  • The remembrances of Reagan help reinforce unity
    of the Republican side.

On June 5th, the 40th President of the United
States passed away from Alzheimers Disease.
Young Voters in the 2004 Election
Youth turnout was up
  • Among 18-29 year olds, turnout was up as much as
    9.7 points 52.
  • Among 18-24 year olds, turnout was up as much as
    10.8 points to 48.
  • Approximately 21 million votes were cast by 18-29
    year olds, and 10.5 million were cast by 18-24
    year olds, both up sharply from 2000.
  • Greatest turnout since 1992.
  • The top value for youth as well as all voters is

Youth turnout was up Living in a battleground
state had a greater impact in 2004
Source 2004 Pew Charitable Trust CIRCLE Post
Election study
The increase in youth turnout was driven by young
  • .

Source 2004 Pew Charitable Trust CIRCLE Post
Election study
Voters aged 18-24 supported Kerry 56 to 43
Source 2004 Pew Charitable Trust CIRCLE Post
Election study
Reaching Young Voters
The Re-Engaged GenerationGen X vs. Gen Y
  • They have different opinions than their
  • older brothers and sisters.
  • In comparing 1829 year olds to 3039 year olds,
    under 30s were
  • More likely to identify as liberal by 12 points
  • Less likely to call themselves conservative by 7
  • Favor gay marriage by 16 points
  • More likely to believe that government should do
    more to solve problems by 5 points.

Source 2004 Pew Charitable Trust CIRCLE Post
Election study
Young people believe that government should help
them but are often cynical about politics.
Now I'm going to read you a pair of statements.
Please tell me whether the FIRST statement or the
SECOND statement comes closer to your own views,
even if neither is exactly right. Which statement
comes closer to your own view?Do you feel
STRONGLY about that, or not so strongly?
Politics is a way for the less powerful to
compete on equal footing with the powerful.
Politics is a way for the powerful to keep power
for themselves.
The government cannot really do much to make sure
young people have access to good paying jobs or
affordable education, housing and health care.
The government can be a force to help young
people get greater access to good paying jobs or
affordable education, housing and health care.
The government should do more to help people
solve their problems.
The government does too many things that are
better left to individuals and business.
Note Latinos (-19) and African Americans (-11)
are particularly likely to think that the
government is for the powerful while whites (6)
are more likely to think politics helps the less
powerful compete.
Source August 2004 Rappaport study
Why young voters dont vote
  • Young voters do not feel empowered to make a
    difference in the larger scheme of things, or to
    change government. They believe that government
    can and should make a difference in peoples
    lives, but they doubt that it will.
  • Their lack of faith in government is two-fold.
    First, they doubt their own power to change
    government. Second, they distrust elected
    officials and are cynical about politics.
  • Young voters are not anti-government. In our
    focus groups we found that many question the
    governments priorities but not the governments
    power to make a positive difference in peoples
  • They believe the government has the power to make
    a difference, but they doubt that those in charge
    are committed to change.
  • We need to communicate to young voters that they
    have the power and the numbers to change things.

Source August 2004 Rappaport study
Youth Voter Attention
  • Catch the attention of previously unengaged youth
    with people they respect for other reasons.
  • While young people respond to popular culture,
    the election was serious to them. They are
    interested in information and having serious
  • Get them interested with comedy/celebrity, but
    they respond to facts. In the end, it is the
    message, not the messenger that is important.
  • Use friends family influentials to reach
    out to young people.

Source August 2004 Rappaport study
Youth Vote Not A Monolithic Group
  • 20 are college graduates
  • 58 dont expect to complete a 4-year degree
  • 31 are married
  • 57 are renters, 18 are homeowners
  • 21 live with their parents

Source July 2004 survey of 1,000 18-29 year olds
in 17 Battleground states.
Spokespeople can catch young peoples attention,
but are less persuasive than messages.
  • Celebrities can bring excitement and attention to
    the cause of registration, participating, and
    supporting particular candidates. However, when
    it comes to messaging and persuading these young
    voters it is more often people who look like
    them, talk like them, and are experiencing the
    same reality as them who break through the
    clutter and focus the issue.
  • This is especially true among young white and
    Latino voters. While they look to entertainers
    to guide trends they respond less positively when
    athletes, musicians, or other personalities tell
    them to vote a certain way.
  • The exception, however, is among young
    African-American voters. For young African
    Americans, Hip Hop is an avenue that validates
    and credentials politics and civic engagement.
    There are few things this cohort holds in higher
    esteem than the culture 88 of younger weak
    African American voters find hip hop credible on
    politics, including 48 who find it very
    credible. Hip hop not only brings excitement
    and attention to the cause, it also brings
    validation and may be a requisite for messaging
    among young African American voters.

Source ACT African-American Battleground survey
conducted by Brilliant Corners Research, March
Gens X Y on Celebrity Spokespeople Moderate
weight is given to celebrities making them aware
of global poverty
How important would you say celebrity appeals
are in making you aware of the issue of global
N 311, /- 5.6 margin of error. CA, IL, KS,
MA, VA.Source December 2004 LSPA study
Celebrities Gens X Y Admire
admire a lot or somewhat among 18-34 year olds
  • Denzel Washington 59
  • Oprah Winfrey 52
  • Jimmy Carter 48
  • Julia Roberts 46
  • Tom Hanks 43
  • Brad Pitt 34
  • Bono 25

.Source November 2004 LSPA study 1,140 adults
nationwide 268 aged 18-34
Admired celebrities with a local connection and
respected hip hop icons got voters attention in
  • In 2003, Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street was
    engaged in a tightly contested rematch with local
    businessman Sam Katz.  During the final days of
    the race, television icon and prominent
    Philadelphian Bill Cosby offered his voice and
    personal message to impress upon the community
    the importance of reelecting Mayor Street,
    because of the improvements he had made to the
    community during his term. In what was supposed
    to be a very close election, Mayor Street pulled
    ahead for good in the closing days of the
  • As part of ACT's minority registration and
    primary GOTV efforts in Missouri, Hip-Hop icon
    Doug E. Fresh offered his voice and personal
    message for our automated phone program to stress
    the importance of voting in support of local
    Missouri candidates including Claire McCaskill.

Young Voters And Technology
How to Reach Young People?
  • Use their technology
  • Cable television, radio, Internet, text
    messaging, instant messaging
  • Go to them
  • Integrate paid media with Internet
  • Newspapers and mail dont work
  • Be factual

Young people get most of their news from
television which is also their most trusted
Percent who say they get most of their news and
information from this source
Percent who say they trust this source for news
and information
Source August 2004 Rappaport study
  • Television is still the number one medium to
    reach young people, but the audience is more
    fragmented and not watching the same stations or
    shows as an older audience.
  • Broadcast
  • No longer dominant with rise in cable and the
  • Broadcast news and local news are no longer chief
    source of political information. Cable news is
    now number 1.
  • Cable
  • 37 of adults 18 to 29 regularly watch cable
  • Comedy programming is important news source.
  • The Daily Show, Conan OBrien, Saturday Night Live

Go to Them
  • Young people respond to different mediums and
    different channels than older generationsall at
    different times.
  • Theyre watching MTV, Comedy Central, Fox, WB,
    BET and Cartoon Network.
  • And theyre watching much later.
  • Top cable stations for young people start prime
    time two hours later and rerun prime-time
    starting at midnight.

Young people, especially African Americans and
those with a low propensity to vote, listen to
the radio late as well as early.
Source August 2004 Rappaport study
  • Young people listen to the radio and they listen
    a lot.
  • The best way to reach young people on the radio
  • Alternative Rock/Modern Rock, Hip-Hop/Rap are
    most popular.
  • Top 40 and Classic Rock also do well.
  • Hip-Hop/Rap reach all young listeners, no matter
    their race or gender.
  • The best time to reach young people is
  • Like all listeners, young people listen during
    morning drive.
  • They also listen latebetween 8 pm and 11 pm,
    which is much cheaper.
  • Source Mediamark Research Inc.

What about Print?
  • Young people are not reading newspapers.
  • In the last four years, daily newspapers lost
    nine percentage points.
  • And very few are reading their mail.
  • If they even take the time to check their mail,
    its quickly discarded as junk.
  • They depend on the Internet to communicate with
    family and to pay bills.
  • Source Pew Research, January 2004

The Internet
  • The fastest growing news source for young people
  • One in five young adults rely on the Internet for
    news and politics
  • Think about your audience
  • Liberal college kids frequent blogs
  • Non-college educated kids should not be targeted
    using a blog

Compare, Decide, Vote Ad
Sponsoring an online chat room where people can
go to ask questions is the most popular way a
candidate can communicate with young people
Independents are the least likely to take
internet actions.
Net Likely minus unlikely to take the action.
Over half of these young people use an instant
messenger service at least weekly and 4 in 10
send text messages at least weekly. Less than
half of this group does not have access to these
messaging devices.
37 percent of African Americans and 37 percent of
Latinos instant message.
40 percent of African Americans and 35 percent of
Latinos text message.
Only 32 percent of all young people would
download voter registration forms, including only
19 percent of low propensity voters who say they
would do so.
Source August 2004 Rappaport study
Text Messaging
  • 1 billion text messages are sent each month in
    the U.S.
  • Must allow the user to opt in to receiving
  • Encourage the receiver of the message to send it
    on to friends.

Taking Lessons From The 2004 Election Into 2005
Health Care
  • Lesson Learned Health care got pushed out by the
    war in Iraq and terrorism, even among health care
    voters. Health care voters are open to
    opposition arguments.
  • Action to Take Own the issue, make a more
    explicit link between health care and economy,
    and counter tort reform arguments.
  • Messaging to Use Talk about health care in terms
    of values and personal stories. Dont be

  • Lesson Learned Voters believe the system is
    broken and needs to be fixed. They are ready to
    support new approaches including limited
    legalization as long as certain conditions are
    met and the system becomes more fair and orderly.
  • Action to Take Promote bipartisan reforms that
    make our immigration system more fair, legal and
    orderly. Budget fights make this more zero-sum.
  • Messaging to Use It is important to describe
    proposed reforms in terms of fair and reasonable
    rules that apply to everyone. Voters want both
    immigrants and U.S.-born citizens to be treated
    fairly. Highlight positive images of immigrants
    as hardworking taxpayers

Minimum Wage
  • Lesson Learned The minimum wage helps mobilize
    African American voters, particularly younger
    African American men, low income voters,
    unmarried women, and Hispanic voters. Minimum
    wage initiatives can be a critical tool for
    mobilizing turnout in 2006.
  • Action to Take Put minimum wage initiatives on
    the ballot. The minimum wage initiatives won in
    Nevada with 71 and in Florida with 68. In both
    states, a majority of Republicans voted to raise
    the minimum wage.
  • Messaging to Use That it's the best way to fight
    poverty among full-time working Americans and an
    effective way to keep people working and off of
    welfare. Juxtaposing salaries of CEO's with the
    minimal wages that their workers earn can be very

  • Lesson Learned They are not invincible.
    Overcoming consumer affinity for their
    convenience and low prices will be difficult.
  • Action to Take Get the facts out to consumers
    about Wal-Mart's harmful business practices and
    unfair treatment of employees. Even a modest
    reduction in shopping trips can cut into their
  • Messaging to Use Personal stories of workers,
    show that there is a better way, talk about issue
    in terms of values and fair play. Remind people
    of the huge profits they make.

Questions to Answer
Strategic Questions
  • What kind of communications infrastructure is
    needed to keep the new voters of 2004 engaged and
    active on issues and future elections? 
  • Can popular culture (TV scripts, movies, music,
    video games) be used more strategically to engage
    people or frame the public debate? 
  • How do we avoid/overcome backlash on events like
    Kerry's Hollywood comedy fundraiser?

Strategic Questions
  • Voters adopt the party of their first three
    votes. How do we keep youth engaged
  • How does the current issue debate on subjects
    like Social Security hurt appeals to youth,
    making them feel their issues are being ignored? 

Research Gaps and Future Actions
Youth Views
  • Research gap Youth perspectives on key issues
    like immigration, health care, minimum wage and
    fighting the Wal-Mart economy.
  • How we use that information Develop effective
    messages, and use them to mobilize young people.

  • Research gap What do people think of
    progressives, conservatives, moderates,
    Democrats, Republicans and independents? What
    images do they have?
  • How we use that information Frame our
    positioning to attract more people and encourage
    them to develop a progressive identity.

  • Research gap What does values mean? How can we
    get back to values connecting to social justice?
    Is there a generationally compatible position?
  • How we use that information Stop focusing on the
    fact battle while losing the war on emotions. Do
    not allow Republicans to be the party of God and

Health Care
  • Research gap Linking patient satisfaction scores
    with staff levels and malpractice suits.
  • How we use that information Be able to make the
    argument that the way to reduce malpractice suits
    and have more satisfied patients is to stop
    problems from happening in the first place due to
  • Research gap Attitudes and understanding of the
    medically underinsured.
  • How we use that information Develop messages and
    campaigns to pressure employers and insurers to
    increase the quality of coverage.

Research gap Modeling unaffiliated Latinos to
learn which types are open to aligning with
Democrats and Republicans, and affiliated Latinos
to see which ones are open to switching parties.
How we use that information Aid in recruitment
and retention of the fastest growing minority
group in the US. Gap A comprehensive Democrati
c training and recruitment program to develop the
next generation of Latino elected officials.
How we use that information More high quality D
emocratic Latinos elected to office.
  • Research gap Linking consumer attitudes to
    actual consumer behavior.
  • How we use that information Beta test different
    types of campaigns by market to evaluate which
    type of campaign works best by market type.
  • Research gap Modeling the various types of
    Wal-Mart consumers to understand which types are
    most likely to change their shopping behavior.
  • How we use that information Allows for more
    effective targeting.