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US Election special

The US election is imminent

The US election is imminent

American youth backs Barack Obama

When it comes to the US elections, we’re constantly hearing numbers and polls. When it comes to hearing peoples opinions, we’re also bombarded.

However they’re generally the opinions of people that, as students, we rarely identify or connect with. John McCain also appears to be someone that a lot of the youth in America fail to connect with. A person perhaps so set in his ways, seeming so old fashioned; with his ideas on things like nationalism, religion, abortion and being anti-choice (excuse me for not being able to resist the phrase ‘get your rosaries off my ovaries’) that he misses out on reaching the youth in America.

Barack Obama however, seems to have gained the youth vote, proving himself to be more versatile, more approachable, more pragmatic, and according to American youth, ‘fresh enough to tackle the responsibilities of the next president’. I asked three guys at the University of Rochester in western New York to share their opinions on the presidential candidates and whether they were backing the candidate or the party. So, instead of hearing British student opinion on the election, or just getting poll statistics, we get a bit more of an insight into what the student opinion is. Meet Adam, Nate, and Ryan.

When asked which candidate they were backing, and whether they backed the candidate or the party, they gave the following responses:

  • Adam: For the moment I’m backing Obama. In my opinion he’s at least talking about leading the country in a direction I’d like to see it go, as opposed to McCain who I disagree with on many social issues. This is unusual for me really, since I usually am more conservative (at least with non pure-social issues like the economy or foreign affairs) and tend to ‘vote’ Republican. In fact, back in 2000 when McCain was running for the Republican primary against Bush, I wanted people to vote for him. Now it’s Obama all the way.
  • Nate: Obama. I am voting for Obama. I do like his style of trying to understand other people’s reasoning and thinking critically and logically based on that, but I am doing it more for the Democratic Party – get them back into fixing things. OK, so I am more doing this to get the Republican Party out of power and make them stop ruining things.
  • Ryan: I will never vote for a Republican. So I guess that makes it Obama. Honestly, I’m not really thrilled with either of the major candidates. After watching the Democratic primary debates, I would vote for Dennis Kucinich. Joe Biden is really good too. I wish he were running for President. I guess Vice President is good enough. And I would never vote Republican. While they are clearly voting for Obama, I wondered if the majority of their peers were thinking the same thing.
  • Adam: Obama almost all around, except for kids who come from die-hard Republican families who feel it’s their religious duty to vote for McCain. Obama has done a really good job rallying young voters, not to mention that his views are more social. That’s university students all around.
  • Nate: Obama. Almost everybody I’ve talked to, the answer is either that they don’t know, or that they are voting for Obama.
  • Ryan: It’s Obama. He’s going to clean up house on the youth vote, but unfortunately people our age don’t vote a lot. Old people will have the highest voter turnout. It’s just not easy for us to vote since there isn’t a polling center on campus (and all other college campuses across the country). It turns out that because of all that, college students don’t vote. But as far as who they like, Obama has a massive appeal on liberal college campuses. And while they also seem to be backing Obama, when asked who they thought would win, answers were very different.

‘It’s Obama. He’s going to clean up house on the youth vote, but unfortunately people our age don’t vote a lot.’

  • Adam: If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have said Obama. Now it’s a lot closer, and a lot of people are showing how dumb they are. It’s anyone’s guess, scarily enough.
  • Nate: I don’t know. It’s really hard to tell. I’ve already seen the past two elections been spun in the last minute by Republican campaignistas.
  • Ryan: McCain, but it will be close, I think. I think everybody’s going to vote for the “safe” old white man. It’s like voting for your war-hero grandfather… it’s scary to think that that’s who’s going to be the most powerful man in the world.

Out of these short questions and answers, there are two things that emerged that worried me. While these guys seem to be die hard democrats and back Obama just like their peers, Obama still won’t get that youth vote percentage because of the fact that their campuses don’t have polling stations. Few will bother to go off campus to vote. The second, is that although they gave reason for wanting Obama to be the next president of the United States, they still think it’s too close to predict, or even more worrying, that the Republicans will win yet again.

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