Youth less likely to cast their votes in 2012 election

The latest results from Gallup show the intention of young voters to get out and “rock the vote” have sharply declined since the 2004 and 2008 elections.

According to the results, only 58 percent of U.S. registered voters aged 18 to 29 said they will “definitely vote” in the upcoming election. This fell far below the national average of 78 percent.

Mike Romeo, senior computer science major, said he’s part of the non-voting pool, but he makes an effort when the presidency is at stake.

“I usually don’t vote since I don’t have time to educate myself on the candidates,” Romeo said. “But given the significance of presidential elections, I make exceptions.”

The results of the latest poll were based on the analysis of interviews of more than 30,000 registered voters and more than 2,800 18- to 29-year-old voters. Gallup asked for presidential vote preferences and also asked them to rate their voting likeliness on a 10-point scale, with 10 indicating they would “definitely vote.”

The decrease in guaranteed support could be bad news for President Obama, who found young voters were one of the key groups in his winning 2008 coalition, the report said. Polling results have shown that this year, young voters will continue to support him. But with support waning to as much as a 20-percent decrease, the demographic doesn’t pack as much of a punch as it once did.

On Kent State’s campus, several student organizations have noticed this young-voter apathy and have taken initiative to get young people registered and committed to getting out to their polling locations. One of the proponents has been the Kent State College Democrats, which organized a “Pledge to Reg” voter registration drive.

Lorenzo Thomas, senior philosophy major, volunteered in the registration drive. He said despite the statistical low turnout, initiatives like these seem to make a difference.

“[Students] were very positive and more receptive than I had anticipated,” Thomas said. “Even if they had registered previously, they were still very apt to stand around and chat. Also, stopping a group would almost guarantee more than one registration. Friends will always talk friends into signing stuff.”

Thomas said he always votes, whether it’s an election year or not.

“It’s important to me because I appreciate the democratic process,” Thomas said. I’m not a fan of having the will of a few rule the many.”

Contact Justin Lagore at [email protected].