Will students vote this election?

Picture by Cheril Nathaniel

There are 16.8 million young people newly eligible to vote since 2008 according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. However, will young people vote this eleection?

Now that the presidential debates are over, and the majority of America has had a chance to hear from both candidates, it is now time to begin deciding who will be the president for the next four years. Early voting has begun in several states including Louisiana.

Riviera Dayshjaura said she would vote early if she is able to. “I plan on voting for Obama, because his policy is more for the people and I feel that he’s a more moral candidate, although I don’t agree with everything he proposed, I think he has the best ability to lead the country,” Dayshjaura said.

However, this is only one student who has made the decision to get out and vote,  in a sea of many; the question remains whether college students will turn out in record numbers as with the 2008 presidential election. According to Erin Mershon of the National Journal, “Just 58 percent of registered 18-to-29-year-olds said they were “definitely likely” to vote when asked in July of this year — down 20 points from the 78 percent who said the same in October 2008.”

In an unscientific, random poll conducted on Southeastern’s campus, only 7 out of 25 students polled said that they would vote this election.  Although this is a non scientific poll it gives a small glimpse into the minds of some college students and it seems to support the numbers reported above by the National Journal.

Voting Machine

Another Southeastern student, Minnie Gatlin said, “I have not decided whether or not I’m going to vote this election. But if I do vote, it will be for Barack Obama because he says he is willing and plans to address the issues that would more immediately affect my family and community. By community, I mean Louisiana and those who are college students like myself. I simply expect him to keep his word to do all that he can for the betterment of our country in the time he is allotted as that is all he truly can do.”

Most voters however, have decided which candidate is best. Tracking polls conducted on Oct. 29 by Newsmax.com have recorded mixed results for the candidates in the swing states of Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.  The poll’s results indicated that 12 percent of voters in Ohio are still undecided with Obama leading with 3.4 percentage points over Mitt Romney.

In Florida the poll indicated that only 10 percent of voters remain undecided with Romney leading by 2 percentage points over Obama. And Virginia has only 4.5 percent of undecided voters and Obama leads only by one percentage point over Romney.

The race for the White House is shaping up to be a tight one, and both candidates stand to gain from courting the vote of college students, blogger Derreck Magnotta of wayneindependent.com said, “The candidate who can convince students that they will work to keep college affordable (and federal student aid programs solvent) will run away with the student vote. Nearly every college student has a federally administered loan of some sort, making each a stakeholder in candidate’s platforms on education.”

As of the writing of this article, newsmax.com reported at 8:11 pm that Romney and Obama were neck in neck in the national race, with each holding at 46 percent.

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