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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Youth Vote

The SMU Daily Campus reports:

Obama appealed to young voters for many reasons, but according to SMU Political Science professor Dennis Simon, his campaign and election were considered monumental.

"Obama was the first post-Baby Boom candidate. He was considered young and 'in touch' especially compared to McCain," said Simon, "There was excitement about electing the first black president. Students felt their vote would be historic."

Current college seniors across the country, like SMU senior David de la Fuente, were freshman in 2008 and many cast their first presidential election vote for Obama.

De la Fuente, who is now the President of Texas College Democrats, said that he, among others had enthusiasm for Obama's 2008 campaign.

"I feel like most were involved [in Obama's campaign]. We were all just fresh off of turning 18, so everyone was pretty excited to vote," De la Fuente said.

With the 2012 presidential elections approaching the question is whether the excitement and enthusiasm for Obama can be duplicated, according to Simon.

"Another consideration is who will be his opponent? There is a distinct lack of excitement, at this point, for the Republican contenders," Simon said.

Our chapters on elections and political participation discuss the mechanics of voting, which may have an effect on youth turnout in 2012. Politico reports:

Tough new voter identification laws have shaken up college campuses around the country, where students — one of the groups most affected by the measures — are scrambling to comply.

The new laws could also put Republicans in a bind: Even as the party has ramped up its youth outreach efforts — hoping to siphon some of the youth vote from President Barack Obama — it has also backed state-level laws that make it harder for college students to vote. The College Democrats have spoken out against the laws, but so far the College Republicans seem unconcerned. The groups’ opposing views of the laws mirror their parties’ positions: Democrats believe the laws suppress legitimate votes; Republicans insist they’re necessary to combat voter fraud.