Young Voters Show Casual Interest
A new poll of likely Texas voters has Governor Rick Perry in third place in his home state. As the state’s primary election approaches, are young voters are beginning to pay more attention to what’s being said by Perry and other Republican candidates?
There are people who have watched all the debates, read just about every article and watched all the videos released by presidential hopefuls. However, a quick (and unscientific) survey of students walking around campus at UT-Austin found that some of them have only casually paid attention to the Republican campaign so far. For some, like junior Sara Hansard, it took the winter break from classes to catch up with the campaign.
“I spent a lot of time with my grandmother over the breaks,” said Hansard about the time she wasn’t in school. “So I watched a lot of Jeopardy and a lot of news.”
Once she tuned in, Hansard found things that caught her attention and, in the case of recent negative attacks among the candidates, things that turned her off.
“I also paid a lot of attention to Newt’s campaign against Mitt Romney because I’m an advertising major. That’s something I didn’t like, is that he really went with an aggressive, kind of mean campaign,” she said. “I didn’t like that. I thought it was tasteless.”
Graduate student Brian Schwarz took offense to campaign themes pushed by various Republican candidates.
“I’m an independent, so I tend to lean more towards the middle,” Schwarz said. “People like Rick Perry, the real sort of ‘champions of life,’ tend to turn me off.”
November will be freshman John Teltschik’s first time voting in a presidential election.
“[I] just want to get it right,” he said.
What does “getting it right” mean for him? Is it watching as many debates as possible? Is it painstakingly researching every statement and promise made by the candidates?
“…kind of based on what my dad says, because he’s the guru,” Teltschik said.
For all but the hardcore party activists, this is just the beginning of the campaign season. There’s still a lot of time to bone up along the way – too much time, according to Sara Hansard.
“I’m ready for it to be over. I’m ready for it to be decided. I’m ready for the election,” Hansard said. “November needs to hurry up.”
This spring’s Texas primary and party conventions in the summer will provide an entry point for those still on the sidelines – and perhaps an irritant for those wishing it would all just go away.