Marc Ambinder is right about this:

Andrew Sullivan is in one sense correct: traditionally, the youngest cohort of voters dont’ show up at the polls. But the past two election cycles seem to be the start of a new trend: in ’04, the percentage of 18 to 24 year olds rose by, I think I’m remembering this correctly, 11 percent, far exceeding the turnout increases among other age groups. True — they still vote at lower average rates, but it’s not possible to dismiss their influence in close elections anymore.

This should scare the GOP. Now, there are two theories about why this is bad for the GOP:

  1. Over the short term, the numbers will help Democrats in close elections, as Marc indicates
  2. Over the long-term, these people may stay Democrats. Clearly, some of these people become Republicans over time, but enough to offset these people?

In any, case, the GOP needs to put some real energy into figuring this out. Some of this will be through the youth wings like the College and Young Republicans (and the Teenage Republicans, for that matter). But these are the political geeks, not regular people. Furthermore, we really need to reach out on issues that matter to college students… Is anyone really thinking about this?