Does Joe the Plumber play video games? We're not sure what hobbies the invisible star of last night's presidential debate indulges in, but as far as Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is concerned, if you want to register young, eligible voters, you need to go to online gaming sites.

The Illinois senator is touting his online voter registration and early balloting drives in ads on Microsoft's Xbox Live service, Reuters is reporting. For Obama, who is more popular among youth than his older Republican opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain, the ads are an opportunity to reach 18- to 34-year-old male voters.

That age group "is the mainstream demographic for the hard-core video gamer," Van Baker, an analyst for technology market research firm Gartner, Inc., told the newswire. "They're hard to get to because they don't watch much TV and they don't read a lot, so it's a good venue to get that segment."

Obama is running the ads in 10 states where voters can cast their ballots early: Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida and Colorado. They'll pop up via Internet Protocol (IP) addresses when gamers in those states log on using their Xbox 360 consoles.

The ads promote VoteForChange.com, an Obama-sponsored Web site where people can register and vote early. The ads are also running on Facebook.

For more on the election and the science behind our politics, give our in-depth report a read.

(Image by iStockphoto/Stephen Morris)