Students vote Obama in straw poll

By Divya Kumar, EDITOR IN CHIEF
On October 16, 2012

If left to USF students, President Barack Obama will have a second term in office.

Obama won a straw poll on-campus with 63 percent of the 1,645 votes counted Monday 1 percent less than he got in USFs 2008 straw poll while Mitt Romney collected 30 percent of the votes.

I think if history is a measure, it will be a pretty good benchmark for the 18- to 29-year-old vote, straw poll organizer and political science professor Susan MacManus said. They were instrumental in Obama getting elected in 2008.

The poll, she said, also offered a glimpse into what matters to young voters.

In 2008, Obama took 64 percent of the vote at USF and 62 percent of young voters nationally.

Because the USF campus is very diverse, USF is becoming a bellwether for the youth vote as Hillsborough County is for the Florida vote, she said.

Forty-five percent of voters indicated on the scantron ballots they filled out that the issue most important to them in determining which candidate they will vote for in the election was the economy and jobs, followed by 31 percent who said education was most important, 12 percent who said health care was most important, seven percent who said government corruption was most important and five percent who said foreign policy was most important.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won the senatorial race with 60 percent of the vote while Rep. Connie Mack, the Republican candidate, took 30 percent of the vote.

Forty percent of voters who participated in Mondays poll were registered Democrats, while 25 percent were registered Republicans, 23 percent were registered Independents and 12 percent were reported as other.

Amendment 6, which calls for banning public funds for abortions did not pass, while Amendment 8, which calls for all individuals to be allowed access to government benefits regardless of religious affiliation and religious organizations to be able to receive state funds, and Amendment 12, which called for the state to appoint a student representative to the Board of Governors, passed.

While one of the goals of the polls was to educate students about the amendments they will see on ballots on Nov. 6 or starting Oct. 27 if they opt for early voting MacManus said she was interested in seeing if students still cared as much as they did in previous elections.

It was a pleasant surprise to see the level of interest, she said.

Ariana Barlas, a junior majoring in history and political science and a student in MacManus class, volunteered at one of the six polling booths stationed across campus and said she was surprised how willingly students engaged in the political process.

Students are actually really excited, she said. Some even came up to us and asked to vote. Its important, because the elections are coming up, and students need to see that these are the issues, right there in your face.

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A breakdown of the vote:

President-
Romney: 30%
Obama: 63%
Others: Gary Johnson, 3%; Jill Stein, 2%; all others, 2%

Senate-
Mack: 30%
Nelson: 60%
Others: 10%

Amendment 6-
Yes: 29%
No: 49%
Dont know enough about it yet: 22%

Amendment 8-
Yes: 56%
No: 22 %
Dont know enough about it yet: 22%

Amendment 12-
Yes: 35%
No: 16%
Dont know enough about it yet: 49%

Which of the following issues is most important to you in selecting who to vote for in 2012?
Economy/Jobs: 45%
Education: 31%
Health Care: 12%
Government Corruption: 7%
Foreign Policy: 5%

Party Registration:
Democrats: 40%
Republicans: 25%
Independents: 23%
Others: 12%

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