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Youth Demographic Matters

Many students tend to think that by making the decision to not vote that it doesn’t make a difference. The truth, however, is that it does matter. It matters quite a bit.

The 2008 presidential election serves as a great example of how the youth vote matters tremendously. On Election Day in 2008, 50 percent of the 18-24 demographic turned out to cast their votes. Two-thirds of them were in support of Barack Obama, helping him safely secure his win into the White House. Although he probably could have won without the young voters – it played an integral role in the final outcome.

The youth vote matters so much that the Obama campaign has even added a position to their staff that directly deals with the youth of America and getting them to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6. The position will be important in getting young voters interested in the world around them.

Obama at Michigan State earlier this year to talk to a crowd of college students, an age group he intends to capture in Nov. 2012.

The 2008 election had one of the highest youth votes in this nation’s history, a trend that seems to be declining recently according to the Pew Research Center. Pew says that through early polling they have seen that less young people are interested in the election now then four years ago.

What is it? I think that young voters do not care enough about what is happening in the world. Many students could care less about such things as the introduction of new legislation, Supreme Court rulings, and even local laws that directly affect their everyday lives.  We can only hope that uninterested young people will develop a desire to be in the know.

I spent some time around the campus of Bloomsburg University listening to what students had to say about the election. Some didn’t know it was an election year, others did not know who was running, and one person was not able to name the vice president of the United States. This is just what I found at BU. Imagine all of the colleges across the country that have hundreds and hundreds of students who could care less about the results of the 2012 election. We live in a democratic society where individuals want nothing to do with the democratic process. This has to change!

For those students that I talked to that had some grasp on the current state of the election, about half of them were in support of Ron Paul (R-TX) whose libertarian-like policies are in accordance with the thinking of an average college student. The legalization of marijuana, limited government interference, and a system where we do not spend more money that we do not have, are some of the policies Paul prides himself on. It seems like a plan that would be accepted by many, but in reality Paul only has 51 delegates. So what we are seeing is college students wanting to vote for someone who is in last place, a spot where Paul will most likely stay for the duration of his campaign.

When Obama hits the streets running for his 2012 campaign you can expect to find him on many college campuses nationwide. He knows that with the youth vote he can possibly win. The 2012 election will definitely be a closer margin than the 2008 election and the youth vote is what many political analysts say is going to make a big difference.

College students have been hurt a lot by the current recession. Students are graduating and finding themselves unemployed, landing a job not in their field of study, and just making it by. Second or third jobs are not uncommon for recent graduates. Students feel failed by the system because their diploma ultimately means nothing.

Every election students have the power to vote someone into office that can change their individual situation. This is why those who are complaining about being failed need to be the people at the polls come November.

Instead of sitting on Facebook or Twitter for hours on end each day, try sitting down and reading a newspaper, newsmagazine, watching the news on TV or reading about politics online. The information is waiting to be read by people just like you.