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Why Aren’t Young People Planning on Voting?

According to a recent CNN article, the percentage of citizens ages 18-24 planning to vote has decreased 20% since the 2008 presidential election. I asked 10 people, “Why has there been such a drastic change in young people planning to vote?” Most attribute the statistical drop to a lack of support for the presidential candidates.

Mayowa Koleoso, 26, thinks a lack of enthusiasm is the culprit.

“I feel like we thought there were a lot of promises made, and the man in charge did not follow through and a lot of people are feeling disappointed,” explained the Information Assistant at Loyola University Chicago.

International Politics student Walker McBride, 21, attributes the change to the fact that Obama’s 2008 campaign base was expecting a “quick fix.”

“The status quo has not changed. We are still in an unwinnable war, the deficit is still un-payable, and the economy is still in recession,” said McBride.

McBride also stated that young Americans were enamored with the prospects of hope and change in 2008.

“Once the reality set in, disillusionment was quick to follow,” McBride said.

Katherine Oxenreiter, 20, thinks Obama’s campaign in 2008 was really trying to mobilize the youth vote compared to this year.

“Since he has been President, he hasn’t really done a lot of things he promised young voters and I think he lost a lot of faith from a lot of people,” said the Political Science major.

Those researching the decrease have similar realizations. Jack Schlossberg, in his article titled, “Young voters, don’t give up on Obama,” explains why he believes young voters are so cynical.

“It is not surprising that a generation not tempered by past disappointments, that had hoped its representatives would work in good faith to fix America’s problems, might be less enthusiastic this time around,” wrote the former Obama campaign volunteer.

Schlossberg hopes young Americans will realize voting is something we can all do.

“What a mistake it would be for us to throw in the towel now,” concludes Schlossberg.

Advertising/Public Relations student Lizet Gonzalez, 20, believes many feel that their vote isn’t going to make much of a difference.

“They [young voters] are not going to take time out of their days to go and vote for someone they don’t know anything about and they feel like they can’t make a difference even though they can,” said Gonzalez.

Thomas Campbell, 20, seems to agree with Gonzalez.

“The race is so one sided that there is no need to vote as one candidate has a clear victory,” said the Pyschology and Advertising/Public Relations student.

Campbell mentioned displease with both candidates could also be to blame for the statistical change.

“[Young voters] simply refuse to vote for either one,” Campbell said.

But another student, Shayla St. James, 21, says the decrease in enthusiasm is because of a lack of information.

The Psychology major stated,  “We are uniformed. Instead of taking the time to educate themselves on the issues and the candidates, they just choose not to vote.”

Photo by: RON EDMONDS/Associated Press

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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.