Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Young voters: Are you liberal on Facebook, but conservative in the voting booth?

Arroyo High students visiting Duarte High

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Arroyo High School students Raul Del Cid, 17, Vennis Hong, 16 and Rocio Payan, 17, chat at Duarte High School, site of a forum on negative political advertising.

I got to hang around at Duarte High School Saturday night with about 200 students from San Gabriel Valley area high schools at the Arsalyn Youth Forum to engage young people in civic life. The topic was negative political advertising.

I brought examples from the four most famous negative political ads I could think of — the 1964 LBJ Daisy ad, the 1988 Willie Horton ad, the 2004 Swiftboat Veterans for Truth ad and the Demon Sheep ad from Carly Fiorina's 2010 U.S. Senate campaign. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow called Fiorina's "the attack ad so bad, nobody wanted to believe it was real."

A young woman asked why people who loudly express their political opinions don't often listen to others' views. In response, I asked the audience who among them had unfriended someone on Facebook after seeing a political comment they disagree with. A lot of hands went up. And that question got us talking more about social media and voting.

High school senior Addison Hu, governor of the Arsalyn Youth Forum, told me that young people get a lot of peer pressure to express liberal sentiments on social media like Facebook, but when they become voters, they might vote more conservatively.

Do others feel this way? If you're age 17-23, tell KPCC about your own involvement or avoidance of politics and voting. It's confidential, and a KPCC journalist will write you back.

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