Thursday, October 02, 2008

Decision 2008

Poll: Marymount Students Say They’re Planning To Vote
By Mark Galarrita

A majority of Marymount Manhattan College students said in a recent poll that they will be voting in the presidential election, either as New York residents or by absentee ballots, and that they are were generally enthusiastic about their choices.

In a poll of 167 of Marymount Manhattan College’s 2,000 students, results show that many students will be voting in the general election this November, or at least they want to. Conducted on September 22, the same day the college’s political student union held its Get Out The Vote Drive, the poll sought to determine if Marymount students would be voting this November and for whom.

The poll showed that 124 students said they would be voting. Only 21 said they would not, and 16 said they were ineligible due to various reasons, including age and citizenship. Six were not yet registered but said they intended to vote.

However, when Marymount students were asked who they would be voting for, their voices were loud and clear. A whopping 103 students picked Senator Barack Obama of Illinois as their choice for president in the general election.

Sophomore pre-med major Sarah Conestabile said she picked the young senator for one clear reason. “I don’t want another Bush in office. The financial situation is just a mess and I don’t like the way the war in Iraq is being handled.”

Other students who intended to vote for Obama cited various issues they believed he addressed. “Economic policy will help us in the long run,” says sophomore Matt Whitt. “His diplomatic skills will help in foreign affairs, as well as his experience in domestic reform.”

It is clear that Marymount Manhattan students favor Obama their general opinion of him is high. When asked why they were voting for him, many cited the word change several times. Many students agreed that the word “change” and a new seat in government seemed like a cliché, but they believed it was "necessary".

In a related poll, only seven students picked Arizona Senator John McCain as their choice. Although clearly outnumbered by Obama voters on campus, McCain voters were not swayed. A majority of the polling was taken in large groups, and showed at least one McCain voter in every individual group. Students who were for McCain did not give a reason for choosing him.

The poll also unearthed a number of undecided voters. Twenty-two students who said they were voting said they were undecided. When asked why they remained undecided, the consensus response was,”you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.” ks Elyssa Maldonado, a senior art history major, said, “I don’t like McCain’s policies and Obama seems too preachy for me. All talk.”

Some undecided voters choose a more direct approach -- apathy. Twenty-one students said they will not be voting at all. Sam Carcmo, a senior communications major, said simply, “I don’t care enough.”

However, apathy was not rampant among those who said they wouldn’t vote. Some were too undecided or too busy. Others said they should not vote because of lack of knowledge. A few students said they were too busy to commit the time to vote in the general election.

A majority of the students polled, 127 out of 167, said they voting were enthusiastic about the future whether they were for McCain, Obama or another party member. Results of the polls are likely to change. The U.S. Board of Education shows that more than 29 million people aged 18-24 are eligible to vote in 2008. However, in the 2004 presidential election, only 47% of eligible voters between the ages of 18-24 actually voted. Still, that number was about 11% higher than young voters in the 2000 general election.

While apathy may be a stereotypical trend among young potential voters, a majority of Marymount’s 2,000 students are expected to take the time from their busy lives to vote.

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