Young people are among those expected to vote in the US presidential election in larger numbers than usual. Analysts are predicting a record turnout by 18 to 29-year-olds following a surge during the primaries and a rising number of young people registering to vote. And according to polls, they will favour Obama over McCain by a margin of two-to-one.
“Obama has really generated a lot of excitement among the youth. So I think that on college campuses all over, not just at Penn, Obama has a big following,” said one student at Pennsylvania University.
However, on more conservative campuses, like the University of Scranton, a Jesuit school in northeastern Pennsylvania, many favour the Republican candidate: “I’m gonna vote for John McCain,” said one student. “I’m pretty conservative. I didn’t originally support McCain. I was originally a Mitt Romney supporter. I was very disappointed when he didn’t support Mitt Romney for his vice-presidential choice. But still, I just don’t agree with the liberal policies that Senator Obama has and believes in.”
America’s 44 million eligible young voters represent one fifth of the electorate. Experts say they feel more concerned than ever by the political situation in their country:
“This year is just completely different from anything I have seen before,” said Don Kettl, professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I have not seen this kind of stirring up of emotion among younger voters since the Vietnam days of the late 60s and early 70s. This is truly historic and it is because a lot of younger voters are sensing that what everybody has been telling them is true – this is a critical election, this is going to transform the way we think about politics in America.”
It is also believed the Obama camp’s unprecedented use of new technologies such as the internet, mobile phones and even computer games has helped him reach out to the young generation like no other candidate before him.