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LESSON

Impact of Youth Vote (Transcript)

This transcript accompanies the "Impact of Youth Vote" lesson.

MATT LAUER, co-host:
From what we're hearing, the youth vote played a pivotal role in President-elect Barack Obama's road to the White House. Luke Russert is at the University of Indiana with more on that side of the story. 

Hi, Luke. Good morning.

LUKE RUSSERT reporting:
Good morning, Matt. Young voters made history last night when they showed up in droves and waited in long lines and helped to choose the next president of the United States. 

It was a coming-out party for first-time voters across the country. On college campuses countrywide, young voters came out to cast their ballot in record numbers. 

Unidentified Woman: Young people not only increased their turnout in the 2008 elections, but increased it by incredible margins and went to the polls overwhelmingly supporting Barack Obama.

RUSSERT: Making up almost 18 percent of the electorate, the youth vote played a key role in turning battleground states like Florida, Ohio, and Virginia blue. 

Unidentified Man: Without the youth vote, a lot of these blue states would have stayed red.

RUSSERT: Students at times faced long lines, but were determined to make it to the ballot box. 

Unidentified Young Man: I've always wanted to get my voice heard and this is the way to do it. 

Unidentified Young Woman: Every single vote makes a change and makes a difference. 

RUSSERT: And make a difference they did. 

Unidentified News Anchor: Barack Obama is projected to be the next president of the United States of America. 

Man: For the youth, it was the economy, the economy, and the economy. And they voted for Barack Obama on the basis of hope. 

RUSSERT: According to the exit polls, young voters favored Obama two-to-one, a group his campaign has been heavily courting online and on the road.

Woman: He went to the campuses, he went to the communities, he used Facebook and MySpace and text-messaging and e-mail in ways that were incredibly innovative.

RUSSERT: In elections past, young voters have been unreliable and turnouts have been low. What was the difference this time around? Many point to the issues and, of course, the candidate. 

President-elect BARACK OBAMA: We are and always will be the United States of America. 

RUSSERT: And, Matt, here in Indiana, a changing of the guard, a state that hasn't gone blue since 1964 did last night. Why? High voter turnout, especially amongst young people.

LAUER: And, Luke, though, is this a game-changer in terms of the youth vote? Do we expect that from this year forward, the youth will actually show up where they haven't in the past, or was this an enthusiastic response to a particularly interesting election for these young people? 

RUSSERT: Well, I think it was three things: a referendum on President Bush, also the importance of the economy to young people and those who want to get a job and get hired, and lastly it was the strength of the Obama campaign's organizational muscle throughout crucial swing states. My guess is if this type of campaigning continues through social networking, through get-out-the-vote--get-out-the-vote efforts; here in Indiana, Obama volunteers were knocking on doors at 6 in the morning to get kids out of bed to vote. 

LAUER: Right. 

RUSSERT: They will continue to show up. 

LAUER: All right, Luke, good seeing you. Thanks very much for your work.