Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Student Voters in Battleground States

Undergraduates in four battleground states — Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — prefer Barack Obama to John McCain by a two-to-one margin, according to a poll released yesterday that was conducted by CBS News, UWIRE, and The Chronicle.

A whopping 94 percent of the nearly 25,000 undergraduates at 49 four-year colleges who were surveyed said they were registered to vote. And the vast majority of students said they definitely planned to do so.

However, the students were not as engaged politically as some may have thought. Most of the students polled weren't out knocking on doors or persuading family and friends to vote for their candidate. And they appeared to actually be paying less attention to the election than the average American does.

Over all, only one in three of the students had displayed a campaign sign or tried to recruit a friend or family member to a particular campaign. About half of the registered student voters said they were paying "a lot" of attention to the campaign, while 65 percent of all registered voters said they were paying a lot of attention in a recent CBS News/New York Times poll.

Like most would-be voters, students registered to vote in the battleground states said the economy is the No. 1 issue they would base their vote on. About 76 percent said a candidate's stance on the economy and jobs was extremely important to their vote, and 21 percent said it was very important.

Students said the candidate's views on education were second-likeliest to influence their vote — more so than issues like the war in Iraq, energy policy, and health care, which have figured prominently in the campaign. Eighty-five percent of the students said education was extremely or very important to their vote.

When it comes to higher education, registered student voters said they were most concerned about controlling the cost of college. Almost 64 percent said that was extremely important, followed by the quality of higher education, the ability to discuss a range of political views on the campus, and the availability of private loans.

Click here for the full results.

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