By: Eric Stadalnik
What initially began as a search for non-voting students quickly turned into the realization that Central Connecticut State University has a voice in the election and wants it to be heard.
In a study held on campus, those saying they had voted came close to eighty percent, far higher than any national turnout the presidential election has ever seen. Although the actual youth turnout will not come anywhere close to the survey numbers, when examining who the active voters and non-voters supported, it is easy to see that Barack Obama still has the youth on his side.
In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama seemingly ran away with the election thanks, in large, to the youth vote, as the Democrat nearly doubled the vote total John McCain received from the same age group in an election featuring one of the highest young voter turnouts of all time. But with four years gone by and a whole new set of college voters, many speculate whether the youth turnout will even come close to resembling the near historic turnout witnessed during the last election cycle.
If CCSU is an indication of how college students will vote though, the Obama campaign could reap the benefits of another great turnout from the young, loyal supporters that many wondered would show up to fill out a ballot. Splitting the male vote on campus, President Obama’s support came from another faction of Americans he will rely on to help him maintain office, as female students backed the incumbent with seventy-five percent of their votes, casting CCSU’s ballot for President Obama.
But even with the high turnout, non-voters still made their voices heard, illustrating what many across the nation accept as reasons to not exercise their right vote.
“It doesn’t matter who wins, nothing is going to change,” said Andrew Ferrucci, a CCSU Junior.
Ferrucci, an Obama supporter in 2008, adheres to the thoughts of many former Obama enthusiasts, who have not seen the change he describes and many hoped for. The partisan gridlock that has overtaken the United States government during the last two years undoubtedly stopped the Obama’s ability to put policies in place like he did during the first half of his presidency, but the stagnant economy and continued high unemployment numbers continue to be key points in the election that will effect Obama’s vote totals.
With the state of Connecticut continuing to support the Democratic Party for President, election after election, some non-voters claim that taking a trip to the polls won’t make a difference.
“The popular vote doesn’t matter; the Electoral College decides the election,” said Anthony Pompei, a CCSU Senior.
Although it is every American’s right to vote, he is correct, as it is the cumulative vote for each district that will lead to a candidate securing a state’s electoral votes. But this leads many to believe ‘what’s one less vote in a seemingly guaranteed state when the popular vote doesn’t choose the winner?’ In a race as close as this, the Obama campaign cannot afford to have many college students in Ohio, Florida, or any of the other key battleground states with the same mindset.
Whether it is the shortage of drive to vote Obama in the usually Democratic state of Connecticut or the absence of such excitement that was present in 2008, the youth vote in the swing states will be vital to who is the victor in this presidential election.