Eric asked this question via Twitter this morning. I was immediately skeptical, of course, but did a quick search to check it out. Turns out that Google does, in fact, prefer longer terms of registration, as the assumption is that spammers would be less committed to a particular domain and therefore not pre-register for more than a year if possible. That said, it doesnt appear that this is a huge factor, certainly not one that would outweigh having real, indexable content, thoughtful meta titles, etc.
For all you Twitter-skeptics out there, heres a great example of how Twitter can be an effective way of communicating with others, getting helpful information and helping others.