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Mr. Burstein said he thinks that if young people vote, elected officials and candidates for public office will pay more attention to them. He said young people care about Social Security, the budget deficit and the environment. He said global warming “is a crisis that’s real now, but it’s going to become more prominent as we mature and grow older.”

Mr. Burstein, who will attend Haverford College this fall, said he thinks young people “focus on things like Darfur, gay rights, abortion and student loans. Darfur is something that’s not an immediate impact on our lives, but we can look at it and say, ‘This is genocide; this is wrong’ — something that’s more clear-cut, as opposed to a more conceptual issue.”

He blamed low voter turnout among young adults on a “growing frustration among young people that government and politics don’t respond to us,” attributing the frustration to a series of events from the past decade: the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war.

Mr. Burstein, who said he leans Democratic, cautioned against saying young voters are more liberal than the rest of the population, but said, “In general, young people agree more with the social policies of the Democrats.”

However, Mr. Preston expressed skepticism about the young adult turnout in 2008.

“Everyone is always pushing the youth vote as the next big thing, and it never pans out.”

There was some tension at the forum when a Brandeis University student asked Steve Grove, YouTube’s head of news and politics, how concerned Americans should be about “jihadist propaganda” that gets posted on YouTube.

Mr. Grove said he advises users to post video rebuttals to videos with which they disagree.

“The ethos behind all of this is the best bubbles up to the top,” he said. “We’re a platform in the same way the town hall’s a platform.”

Hugh B. Price, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, suggested, “One could argue that [the use of YouTube by jihadists] is one of the best intelligence devices that the FBI could have at its disposal.”

Mr. Preston told The Times, “They’re missing the point. The problem isn’t that YouTube hosts jihadi video. The problem is that YouTube capriciously deletes videos and even whole accounts of users who criticize jihad and/or Islam.”

He cited the example of the removal of Miss Malkin’s video “First They Came,” produced in the wake of the furor over Danish cartoons depicting Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.

A YouTube spokesman declined to comment on any particular video, but said YouTube removes videos that violate company rules.