Does YouTube debate lure young voters?

11/27/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

The CNN/YouTube debate is not the only partnership that combines traditional mainstream media organizations with new media groups.

Yesterday, ABC News and the popular social networking site Facebook announced a partnership in providing coverage of the 2008 presidential election.

Both You Tube and Facebook are extremely popular with young people who historically in the U.S. have been considered to be less involved in politics than other demographics. Whether that’s changing is uncertain, but University of Central Florida Political Science Professor Aubrey Jewett says the debate at the Mahaffey Theater does bring something different to the process.

The debate from St. Petersburg was originally scheduled in September, but very few Republicans initially showed interest, and the forum was ultimately rescheduled for the last week of November.

At the time, several candidates, most notably Mitt Romney, seemed to indicate that such an unconventional format was a bit unseemly. The postponed debate came after the Republicans snubbed a Spanish language debate in Miami, and an African-American forum hosted by Tavis Smiley.

The Republicans have since announced that they will meet – later this month – in Miami for that Spanish language format, and will now take part in this unconventional format.

Jewett says it only makes sense for the GOP candidates to break out of their familiar surroundings to expose themselves to as many voters as possible.

Tomorrow night’s debate is the first between Republicans since they last had one here in Florida, more than five weeks ago in Orlando .

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