Young Voters Discuss Presidential Election

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

HARRISONBURG, Va -- President Barack Obama and Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney will square off face to face for the first time in this presidential campaign on Thursday night. It is a critical moment with the race still very close.

In the latest ABC News Washington Post poll President Obama is just two percentage points ahead of Romney. Some political analysts say the race could be won or lost depending on Thursday's debate.

Aside from who comes out on top, it is another opportunity for candidates to get more votes, but the real question is, are voters even interested?

For younger voters, there is much less enthusiasm than in 2008.

With all the things on a young person's mind, it is hard to imagine one more activity to add to the list. Still, some students are going to watch this debate.

"They actually get challenged, so you get to see them think through their stuff, and see their perspective on different issues that you wouldn't normally get," said Grace Allely, a James Madison University senior.

Bob Roberts, a political science professor, thinks this effort to sway young people is one sided.

"The Democratic party has put into place a very extensive state wide voter registration. And they're focusing on under 25," said Roberts.

Even though the number of registered young voters is up, they are still just not that into it.

"I would be interested in it more if I was at my house because my parents would put it on, and I would watch it because it's on. But since I've been here I don't really follow stuff," said Mason Hauser, a JMU freshman.

Roberts said the issues, like Medicare and Social Security, have a bigger effect on older people and that age group votes more often than the younger group.

"The number one thing with young voters is jobs. They're probably the ones that are hit the most with the recession," said Roberts.

College students are also concerned about education and paying for it. They just do not have a lot to look forward to in this debate.

"Neither of the candidates have come up with clear solutions, and because they don't have clear solutions, it's hard to get excited."

But getting excited for this election is what some students say young people should do.

"I'm hoping that we all actually get up and vote because, you hear about those horrible statistics of American Idol actually getting more votes than the president," said Allely.

There are several viewing parties across the Valley on Thursday. Stay tuned to WHSV.com for updates from those viewing parties.

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