Political science professor Tom Holyoke said that people are ‘grossly
uninformed’ when it comes to the 2012 presidential race and said it will
probably be one of least interesting races. In 2008, the possibility of a
first black president had students, faculty and staff expressing what
candidate they supported in the Free Speech Area.
File photo by Ryan Tubongbanua/ The Collegian
Some may find it hard to escape being bombarded with media coverage and campaigning with the upcoming president election. However, even with the constant exposure, some still don’t care in choosing the country’s next leader.
Political science professor Tom Holyoke said that even with so much information available to students, many still are “grossly uninformed, with only vague notions of who maybe a couple of the Republican candidates are.”
Holyoke added that because of the makeup of the candidates from both parties that the 2012 election might turn out to be one of the least interesting contests in recent history.
“I expect a low turnout across all age groups,” Holyoke said.
Students in one of Holyoke’s political science classes were asked about their involvement and interest in the race as a group and the response was minimal, though one student did say that “it’s been a circus,” referring to the Republican primaries. She went on to say that she had been following the debates since the summer but that the current Republican candidates were not appealing to her.
This sentiment was echoed by students manning a booth in front of the Student Union promoting political awareness and offering students a chance to take a “Political Opinion Survey.”
“Normally, I would call myself a Republican, but with the current field of candidates, I’m more Libertarian now,” said Fresno State senior Julian Cale. “I’m a big supporter of Ron Paul. It’s kind of sad that he’s not getting more votes right now.”
Paul has attracted more interest among students and the young nationwide in the Republican race than the other three candidates. But his lastplace showing in many of the primaries has sidelined him in the run-up to the Republican Convention.
“I think there’s only one candidate that’s any different. Ron Paul’s unique,” said senior Mark Serano. “The rest, the difference between them is minimal — very minimal.”
Serano believes that there should be more student concern due to the high cost of a university education, the level of student debt and the lack of good jobs upon graduation.
He predicts a brokered Republican Convention that will ultimately produce Mitt Romney as the nominee, leaving the voter with little choice between Obama and Romney.
Others at Fresno State reflect the current struggle between Rick Santorum and Romney and the decline of Paul as a viable candidate. Fresno State agriculture major Ben Vanderhoof says he would be leaning toward Paul, but feels that his vote would go to waste in the election on Paul at this point.
“Right now, I am leaning toward Santorum,” Vanderhoof said.
A recent study done by The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) on exit polls of the number of youth voting in the Republican primaries reveals that Paul is the favorite with Santorum a close second and Romney trailing dead last.
CIRCLE has also run a comparison between the 2008 primary youth vote for Obama up to this point. Compared to the amount of youth voting for the 2012 Republican candidates, Obama had more than double the youth votes in 2008 than any of the Republican candidates do in 2012 so far. While this may change as the nominee is chosen this summer, for now students are less interested in the Republican field than they were in Obama in 2008.