Jindal’s persona, not politics, wins over students

Hammond – Seeking re-election for a second term as Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal just had to kick back and wait to see how large his margin of victory would be. Jindal finished with 65.8 percent of the votes, well past the 50 percent needed to put him back in office.

There is no doubt Jindal has the general public won over. None of the other nine candidates in the race even came close to challenging him. Democrat Tara Hollis finished in a distant second with only 17.9 percent of the votes.

But is it actually his policies that have gathered all the support behind him? While adults may be more worried about the individual stances of each candidate, the college crowd may not have had the time to put the research into elections.

Perceptions of candidates among students can often come down to limited viewing of those running through television and other various media outlets. For an incumbent with the outgoing personality Jindal possesses, that is a huge advantage in cornering the college vote.

In a random survey of 30 students on Southeastern’s campus, 28 of those surveyed couldn’t identify the main differences in political views of Jindal and any one opponent. Of those 28 people, 24 voted for Jindal. The four who didn’t vote for him cited themselves as voting democrat.

Sophomore Ben Davis believes the main reason Jindal ran away with the election was due to the status Jindal has established throughout his political career. “He’s kind of gained rock star status,” said Davis. “When you’ve got someone with his popularity against a bunch of candidates no one has ever heard of, it was never really a race.”

The idea of “rock star” status in the political scene isn’t too farfetched. After President Barack Obama’s address to Congress in 2009, the Republican party tabbed Jindal to deliver their response. The choice of the young governor pushed him toward the spotlight of the party, generating talk of a potential 2012 Presidential run. Ultimately, Jindal declined the option to run to return to Louisiana politics.

Like Obama, another large advantage Jindal has in the college eye is his youth. Currently the second youngest governor in the United States at age 40, students believe Jindal is more likely to relate to their needs.

Freshman Jamie Anderson expressed how she believes Jindal’s age helped separate him from other politicians. “I feel like there’s a better chance of seeing change with Jindal,” said Anderson. “These older candidates might not be willing to change much. And Louisiana definitely needs some change.”

With another four years, Jindal still has the chance to win over the college community with his ideas instead of simply his outer persona. If he can find a way to do that, those same students may just be returning to the voting booths in five years to be electing him President of the United States.

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