Patterico's Pontifications


College Students for Obama

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Politico reports that, for several reasons, Pennsylvania college students may not provide the support for Obama that college students in other states have:

“With 159 colleges and universities and approximately 680,000 students, Pennsylvania’s campus vote would appear to be Barack Obama’s ace in the hole in the state’s April 22 primary.

Yet in a tough contest where Obama will need every vote he can get, it’s unlikely that one of his most loyal constituencies will be able to provide him with much of a boost.”

Reasons include that Pennsylvania has a large number of out-of-state college students, most of whom are registered to vote at their home (parents’) residence so they can’t vote in Pennsylvania and will have to vote absentee. In addition:

Pennsylvania’s election rules also act to suppress the college vote. The state has a closed primary, which means only registered Democrats can vote. Since college-age young people are disproportionately likely to be registered as independents, that will serve to limit the number of students who can vote.

Pennsylvania’s approach is distinct from Iowa and New Hampshire, two states where college students turned out in force in part because voters were permitted to register on Election Day and also because the two contests were open to independents.

While the Obama campaign has embarked on an effort to register students in Pennsylvania, a late start has limited its effectiveness.”

Finally, the campaigns’ voter registration efforts have only been active on some campuses since February. Obama has 70 chapters in Pennsylvania while Clinton has 35. However, registration deadlines fell during spring break at many colleges, hampering campus registration efforts and making the impact of new college voters negligible:

“According to Kolker, the Obama campaign netted “well over 5,000” new registrants. But that’s not nearly enough new voters to make an impact, says Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin and Marshall poll.

“I don’t think that’s an impressively large number,” said Madonna. “There are more than 4 million Democrats in the state and let’s say the turnout is 50 percent — and that doesn’t strike me as improbable. Two million people vote and Obama registered [at most] 10,000. You can do the math. That’s not a huge percentage.”

Obama garnered 10-30% more college votes than Clinton in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. He is popular on college campuses because of he is eloquent, students believe he can unify Americans, and … he’s cool:

“Darren Jackson, president of the BYU Democrats, said he thinks part of Obama’s appeal comes from his growing popularity among other college-aged students.

“It’s popular to like Obama,” Jackson said. “He’s something different from the traditional candidate, and people aren’t afraid to support him.”

Hancock agreed, citing Obama’s use of YouTube, Facebook and text messaging as a way of connecting with the new generation of voters. “The campaign has its own social network,” she said. “It’s not just you supporting Obama, it’s you and your friends all supporting him together.”

Obama is new, fun and hip. He’s the iPod of politicians.


15 Responses to “College Students for Obama”

  1. Kennedy had the same appeal but it was LBJ and Daley who put him over the old fashioned way. I remember level headed girls going to a Kennedy rally at USC and coming back in love. I went to the same rally and didn’t see it.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  2. It’s far easier to fantasize about a semi-mythical figure than the dolts you socialize with on a daily basis.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  3. …and democrats are relying heavily on the “Rock the Vote” crowd again?

    What’s that definition of insanity? Something about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

    heldmyw (76f7ba)

  4. I remember campus dems sprinkling peanuts in front of rooms in advance of Carter’s 1976 landslide (wasn’t it 50.1%?) over Ford. Somehow I think a ham sandwich would have done better than Carter.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  5. More like Hope-in-a-Poke, because sometimes the answer is only a click away.

    capitano (03e5ec)

  6. “Obama is new, fun and hip. He’s the iPod of politicians.”

    My brother gave a more dated, but, I think, more apt, metaphor:

    Obama as Pet Rock (TM). Shiny, cool, and in high demand although nobody can quite articulate why, although they are good at projecting attributes onto their Pet. I would add that after the market busts, you won’t remember what all the fuss was about.

    fat tony (601b8d)

  7. Fat Tony,

    Your brother’s analogy may be more apt in the long run but remember that when they were first released, iPods tended to overheat and spark. iPhones, too.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  8. Never had any problems like that with Pet Rocks, though.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  9. I’d say the IPhone is a better analogy. IPhones are overprices, limit your options, and deliver less than cheaper competitors, with their primary appeal being the brand and conferment of status.

    IPods aren’t so limiting, and are actually useful in a way other types of equipment are not.

    kishnevi (a117ab)

  10. You are all missing the best part of the article. They quote the president of the BYU Democrats. I’m an alum and I’ll tell you, there are about 5 of them.

    Dr T (340565)

  11. I expect a major victory for “Operation Chaos” here in Pennsylvania.

    Neo (cba5df)

  12. Young mindless zombies supporting a socialists dictator

    krazy kagu (e08c0e)

  13. They also support Obama because they are, by the large, total morons. Couldn’t think logically or crittically if you paid them.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  14. Obama as Pet Rock (TM). Shiny, cool, and in high demand although nobody can quite articulate why, although they are good at projecting attributes onto their Pet. I would add that after the market busts, you won’t remember what all the fuss was about.

    Perhaps we forget that Sen. Obama was raised in Hawaii. Therefore, he is not an Ipod, PetRock or ChiaPet…

    …he is the Hula Hoop.

    His arguments are circular, his platitudes are plastic, he does quite a bit of shifting back and forth… but in the end never really gets anywhere.

    cfbleachers (4040c7)

  15. Obama is the messiah.

    And I am a Typical White Person.

    Sonofabitch thinks he can cover race politics by lying. I hope he gets slaughtered in November (if in fact, Hillary doesn’t massage the numbers in her favor first).

    Vermont Neighbor (e7ed47)

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