Pew poll shows Obama ahead 

  • Pew Research Center / Ellie Price

By Ellie Price and Timothy Cox

A Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday showed strong support among young voters for President Obama.

The poll found that 61 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 would like to see Obama get a second term, while 31 percent would rather see Republican candidate Mitt Romney win the White House.

The majority of voters in the same age group in 2008 also favored Obama. His support, though, has dropped five percentage points in the past four years.

Jocelyn Kiley, a senior researcher at Pew Research Center, said the drop in support is no cause for alarm for Obama.

"It's certainly the case that Obama enjoys an advantage among young voters today just as he did in 2008," Kiley said. "It's still about two-to-one."

Rachel Fischer, a freshman political science major at Bellarmine University in Louisville, belongs to the 61 percent of young Obama supporters. Fischer said she may not agree with each of Obama's decisions as president but believes it's important to take a side.

"I agree with a lot of his political views and aspirations," Fischer said. "I feel that it is very important to vote, especially as a college student, because in the next four years, this president is going to be running the country and changing politics."

Woodrow Myers, the Indiana spokesperson for the Obama campaign, said young people have important reasons to vote.

"If they want to have successful careers and lives and they want their children to ultimately do the same, they better get out there and understand what the differences are between the candidates and pick the candidates that are going to look out for their interest," Myers said. "Young people around the state understand that he is clearly somebody who thinks about them and their future."

Myers said Obama's Dream Act, which provides living space for illegal immigrants who graduate from an American high school and who have lived in America most of their lives, and changes to college loans are good examples of his progress towards helping young voters.

Katelyn Doering, a sophomore at Notre Dame University and member of the school's College Republicans group, disagrees. She said her greatest concern is the economy, not the affordability of college.

"Mitt Romney has the best set of experience with his experience in business and Paul Ryan's experience on the budget committee. They have the best ideas so that we can work toward reducing our debt and make sure that we're making the economy more stable," Doering said.

This will be Doering's first opportunity to vote in a presidential election. She said she doesn't focus on the "unreasonable" issues that the candidates bring into the election, using the Obama campaign's interest in Romey's tax returns as an example.

"We have so many other important things that are at stake here in this election," she said. "When the campaign starts to focus on that, it just shows that they're a little bit out of touch."

Katie Coffin, a 2012 Franklin College graduate, voted for GOP presidential candidate John McCain in the 2008 election and will vote for Romney this year. Coffin said she, too, doesn't follow the theatrics of elections but understands their purpose.

"It seems like politics has become really theatrical as it is. It's like watching theater, so if you're not amazing, if you're not interesting, it doesn't matter how brilliant you are," she said. "People relate to you more and are more willing to vote for you."

Since her first voting experience four years ago, Coffin said, her understanding of politics has changed, but her opinions about how government should be managed have not.

"I don't like Republicans. I don't like that I have to vote for them because I don't like them. I don't like their rhetoric a lot of the time, and I don't like their social outlook," Coffin said. "A lot of the time they come off to me as kind of cowards and like 'holier than thou,' but the fact that I agree with them policy-wise kind of ties my hands, and I have to vote for them."

An Indiana spokesperson for Romney For President could not be reached for comment.

Ellie Price and Timothy Cox are reporters for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.


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