Many eons ago in the year of our lord 2004, youth voters were supposed to be all the rage. With get out the vote efforts such as "Vote or Die" spearheaded by Sean Combs and other famous moguls, 2004 was supposed to be the high point for the youth voter. In some respects it was as youth voting surged eleven points to crest at a respectable (but not overwhelming) 47%. However youth voters did not decide the election as many thought they would.
As we approach November 2008, lo and behold youth voters are all the rage again. With Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee, some pundits feel the youth and "trendy" vote will catapult Obama to the White House. However I am skeptical after dissecting the true numbers. With all the hoopla and uproar for the youth vote in 2004 the turnout could not beat that for youth voters in 1992.
In 1992 there was no famous actors spearheading the vote, no "Vote or Die" campaigns and no national movement for the youth vote but that year was able to beat 2004 by 2 percentage points. If I were advising the Obama campaign I would view youth voters as a potential prize and not a lynchpin for the campaign. Potential in the sense that you never know when these historically fickle voters will show up. If the "trendy" appeal to vote Obama in November were to somehow wear away, it will be a long cold winter for Democrats.