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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Who Will College Students Vote For?

I might have an answer. I teach a Composition class at a small Liberal Arts College in the Midwest. The demographic of my class is Chicago suburbs with five students from California . In  my class of twenty two students are  three African Americans, one Asian, two Muslims, and the rest are white. The class is mostly apolitical. They do not really follow the election and have no over riding interest in politics. So I asked them to write an essay on who they support and why. Here is what I found out.

The issues cited came down to sound bytes. In the digital age there is a residue that sprinkles down to the populace even if they have no interest in a subject. One cannot escape this faint seasoning of information unless you live in a cave or a desert island. The overriding issue then was class representation. Who was for the middle class and who was for the rich. Romney was cited as being for the rich and Obama cited for the middle class. The forty seven percent video came up several times.

Ancillary views were; we need a change. A small sprinkling of Obama did not do what he said he would but he is trying. Several students did not believe in the political process at all and felt it didn't matter who was elected. They saw politicians as salesman who would say anything. A few students cited parental views as a deciding factor. Many prefaced their essays with...Iam not political and I really don't know much about the issues...but... Someone wanted to know who was running.

But there was a concensus in my random sampling. The teacher made sure to stay nuetral and made sure everyone felt comfortable with giving their views. But when it was all said in done there was two for Romney and eighteen for Obama. Two abstained. The debate was discussed and the concensus was Obama lost. I then asked what effect the debate had on their views of the candidate.

No one changed their vote.

Books by William Hazelgrove