College Students Were Actively Involved in 2004 Presidential Election, Says Survey

College students aren’t always taken as seriously by politicians as they should be.  After all, as the old (and increasingly outdated) logic goes, college students don’t vote as much as other groups (like elderly people), so why pay lots of attention to the issues that matter to them?

Well, college students are voting more than they used to, and overall, they are increasingly interested in and involved in the political process.  In fact, here’s a Fact Sheet about student political participation in the 2004 election that was compiled by CIRCLE, the Center for Information & Research on Civil Learning & Engagement.  According to to a survey of students by CIRCLE:

  • More than 85 percent of students followed the 2004 campaign at least somewhat closely.
  • About 43 percent of students followed the campaign very closely.
  • Nearly 90 percent of students were registered to vote.
  • About 77 percent of all students voted — compared to a voter turnout of only 42 percent nationwide among voters 18-24.
  • Students didn’t just vote in the highly publicized presidential and Senatorial races. Instead, almost 80 percent of the students who voted cast a vote for other candidates as well.
  • Nearly three-quarters of students said that they had conversations about the election at least once a week.  A third of students had conversations about the elections almost every day.

So who did students vote for?  The students in this survey preferred John Kerry, who earned 55 percent of their votes to George Bush’s 41 percent (a trend that echoed the national youth vote as a whole).  Support for Kerry was the highest among students with social science and humanities majors, while support for Bush was the highest among science and business majors.

So will these trends continue with the 2008 election?  Let’s hope so.  Get out and vote, students!








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