College Students, Politics And The 2016 Presidential Race

Photo: Marjorie Pierre


Voting poll numbers reveal that college students across the U.S. do not follow the presidential race.

Political analysts say students that are not politically involved tend to vote for the more popular candidate, or just for an “I Voted” sticker.

Tiandra Williams is a first-year nursing student from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. who said she is not politically engaged because politics are too complicated.

“I hear about it, but I just don’t understand really what they are saying so I don’t really listen.” Williams said.

Williams is not alone. According to research done by The Center for Information and Research Engagement, 12.2 percent of students say the reason they do not vote is because of the lack of interest. The research showed that 34.7 percent of students blamed being too busy, while 8.4 percent said they merely forget to vote.

Political science activist, Dr. Christopher Daniels said that another blind issue to why there is such a low number of students involved politically is the fact that students do not understand what is most important in politics.

“Every election is important. Not only do we have the presidential race you have members of congress, members of the house, members of the senate being re-elected. All those things are very, very important.”

While some students struggle with understanding politics other students, such as, Bryanna Pope are engaged politically and believes that being involved gives you a voice.

“I am involved because I feel as a young person you should be able to have a voice in how your country is ran,” said the freshman business administration student.

She concluded her statement by saying when following politics, gender equality and education are two of the main issues she listens for.

Political science professor Kwasi Densu said he constantly reminds his students that what is most important is what affects them personally.

“I try to emphasize the idea that politics impacts our lives so you (students) need to be aware of it because it impacts our lives directly,” Densu said. “It impacts the economy, it impacts where we go to school, it impacts the things we have access to on a daily basis.”

According to the National Center for Education, 21 million more students are currently enrolled in a college and/or university this fall semester. Political analysts estimate that 45 percent of students will actually vote in the 2016 elections, down from the 51 percent that voted in 2009.

Political analysts believe that the lack of individuals engaging in debates and press conferences of the presidential candidates prior to the party nomination is just one of many issues.

 Daniels said that if students want to become more aware with what is going on around them they should make an effort at doing so.

“Make a list of the important five issues and then choose which candidate is closest to your views,” he said.

 Densu’s advice to students is to get involved in the community, pay attention to the issues surrounding them and when it is time to vote students would be more prepared.