Youth Vote Losing Steam in Brockton Area
October 30, 2010
By Brian Reilly '11 And Erin Horan '11
Special to The Enterprise
Nicole Cassaro, 21, of Easton, a senior at Emerson College, said she voted in the 2008 presidential election, but the state races this year haven't caught her attention.
"I have not been following the gubernatorial race and I'm pretty much as uninterested in politics as a person can be," Cassaro said.
She's not the only one.
Unlike in 2008, when presidential candidate Barack Obama inspired college students to get out and vote, young adults aren't expected to be a major force at the polls on Tuesday.
"Young people have very, very minimal impact on midterm elections," said Peter Ubertaccio, professor of political science at Stonehill College in Easton.
In 2008, exit polls showed that 18 percent of the vote came from people ages 18 to 29 - up from 16 percent in 2004. And those voters supported Obama by a 2-1 margin.
This time, pollsters expect the youth vote to be a smaller share of the overall electorate, perhaps 10 to 12 percent, roughly in keeping with the 2006 election, according to The Economist.
"Everyone gets very excited to vote for the president, but when midterm elections come along, that excitement is gone," he said. "We won't see a lot of young people voting in this election."
Part of the issue, several say, may be college students are away from home at election time or so busy at school they don't arrange for absentee ballots or don't keep up with the issues.
"People at that age are focused on other things. They are less inclined to feel that they have a stake by voting," said William Ewell, a political science professor at Stonehill College.
Also, most 18- to 24-year-olds don't own homes, and it is harder for them to see how government influences them, Ewell said.
"Many people of this age range are not involved with government on a day-to-day basis," Ewell said.
Elaina Pires, 21, of Easton, a senior at Connecticut College, said it can be tough to follow her home state politics, but she tries to keep up, "even if it's just reading articles online or hearing my parents' opinions on the race."
Not all younger voters are staying away from the polls, though.
Mitchell Keylor, 21, of Bridgewater plans to cast a ballot but is not sure whom he will vote for yet.
"I plan on looking up the candidates' views online," he said.
Raúl Martinez, 21, of Brockton, a student at Stonehill College, said he will cast his vote for the incumbent governor.
"I just think that ESL and special education programs are really important and (Charlie) Baker is trying to get rid of these programs," he said. "Because of that, I will be voting for Deval Patrick."
Steve Connors, 22, a senior at Stonehill College from Milton, took a different view.
"I don't pay that much attention to election news, but I do think it is time for Deval Patrick to take a hike," he said.
Brian Reilly '11 and Erin Horan '11 are students at Stonehill College. Brad Constant '11 and Erin Kelly '13 also contributed to this report.
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