“We don’t care where you stand on issues. We just want you to tell voters where you stand.” With that, MTV delivered a message to this year’s interested voters explaining that candidate “behavior [has been] driving young people away” from the polls, in part, because candidates haven’t been stating their positions, according to Jason Rzepka, vice president of public affairs. A Gallup Poll conducted April 20-24 shows only 60 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 are registered to vote, and of those, only 56 percent said they “definitely will vote” in November’s election.
With Obama having an edge in the youth vote and Romney having a 12-point lead among voters 65 and over, MTV has a three-pronged strategy for 2012. First, MTV is gaming the election. “We want to apply similar methods of viewership to the election,” Rzepka said. The network is teaming up with nonpartisan fact-checking and research groups, including Politifact, Project Vote Smart, and the Center for Responsive Politics, to launch Fantasy Election ’12 this summer.
Users will draft a fantasy team of candidates who will be awarded points for behavior that informs and engages constituents and penalized for behavior that deters people from taking part in the political process.