Students and the 2012 vote

The upcoming year 2012, is the presidential election, but the election campaign already started with the numerous debates of the GOP presidential candidates. In the last 2008 election, President Obama won with a huge surge from the youth voting movement.

Election Day 2012 will be held on November 6

“If you look at the trends, we saw the same pattern in 1992 with Bill Clinton – again a young and energetic candidate.  Groups like “Rock the Vote” started and had good success getting more young voters out.  We saw high younger voter turnout rates in 1992 than the elections before, but after 1992 younger voter rates dropped down again (in 1996 and 2000).  We did see a sharp drop-off in younger voting rates in the mid-term 2010 election.  It will be interesting to see what happens in 2012, but most are predicting that younger voter rates will be lower for 2012,” said Dr. Todd Collins, a political science professor at Western Carolina.

It is difficult to create a pattern and predict the future voting habits of this college generation. It may not be clear if the 2008 election was the starting of a trend or phenomena as Collins said.

The past four years have seen its hardships. The economy is struggling and unemployment is high.  There has even been college tuition increases throughout the United States. These are issues that the students will be voting on when they go to vote.

“As of right now, the economy is clearly the driving force.  If you look at the Republican primary debates or most talk shows, the economy and job creation are key.  For good or bad, a sitting president is given credit or blame for the state of the economy.  In reality, some have suggested presidential decisions and policies really have a small influence on the overall economy.  However, whether true or not, the public does put an emphasis on it and holds presidents accountable.  That being said, the Middle East is still a volatile area and events in Syria, Iran, and other places could become a pressing topic in the next year.  A lot can happen over the next 10 months, but as of right now the economy looks to be the big issue,” said Collins.

When talking to the students of WCU they all pointed at the state of the economy as the most important issue that will determine their vote as of right now.

“It sucks; there are no jobs for anybody. I graduate in a year and I don’t even know what I’m going to do,” said Dillon Black, a public relations student at WCU.

Some of the student’s body won’t vote in the upcoming election because of other reasons.

“Honestly, I won’t vote. I want to see were our money’s going.  We need to follow the dollar and see where it leads us, because at the moment I feel they’re all corrupt. I won’t vote until I feel like they’re here for us and the not the dollar,” said Dillon Dunford, a WCU student and basketball player.

Voter turnout in the United States has been low the past 20 years. The 2008 presidential election had an overall voter turnout of 56.4 percent, which is the highest voter turnout since 1968.