Students Express Disillusionment with Primaries

By Richard Barrett

On Jan. 21, The Greenville News ran an article entitled, “Greenville voters ‘disgusted’ with campaigning, make their choices,” describing local voters fed-up with the Republican primary. A survey created and distributed by The Paladin suggests that this general sense of discontentment may extend to Furman’s campus.

The survey was distributed via FirstClass on Student News and on the forums of various student organizations. 67 responses were collected, of which almost 99% came from the student body.

39% of participants reported that they planned to vote in the Republican primaries; 49% said they did not. The remaining 12% reported that they had not decided yet. 75% of those that said they were not voting in the primaries reported their party affiliation as the reason for doing so.

A sophomore, 20, from Georgia had this to say about the primaries:

“Who cares? It’s just a parade of clowns. None of the candidates are electable, they’re all right wing nuts. Certainly none are appealing enough to the general population to beat Obama, so it’s pretty irrelevant to me.”

34% of participants said they voted in the 2008 presidential election. 98% of those that said they did not vote cited their age as the reason.

A couple of participants cited difficulty with the absentee ballot process as the reason for not voting in the primaries.

A junior, 20, shared this experience trying to vote in the 2008 presidential election:

“I’m from Maryland, but I was in South Carolina at the time. Despite submitting the required forms for the absentee ballot, the system had a glitch and I never received the opportunity to vote.”

91% of those who voted in the 2008 presidential election answered affirmatively that they would vote again in this year’s election.

Additionally, 97% of those surveyed said that they intend to vote in the upcoming general election. The remaining 3% reported that either they did not know or had not decided.

A senior, 22, from South Carolina gave the following rationale for not voting:

“I’d rather abstain from voting than submit a ballot without being informed, so it just depends on if I can catch up to a point where I feel comfortable with the candidates’ positions. I’d like to see Obama in office for another term, because I think any president needs more than 4 years to implement the changes they want to see, but again, I don’t know.”

Given a section to express themselves openly, a handful of students—36% of responses (4 out of 11)—endorsed specific candidates. A number of others expressed their disapproval of all the candidates.

A senior, 21, from South Carolina had this to say:

“Obama might win simply because the Republicans aren’t running anyone against him that stands a chance. The people will vote for Obama for lack of a better choice, not because they think he is the best.”

A junior, 20, from Alabama said “I don’t consider any of the nominees viable candidates for office.”

A senior, 20, from South Carolina said:

“I’m seriously considering writing in “Jesus” for president in protest to everybody.”

Still other participants had comments concerning the election process in general. A senior, 21, from South Carolina asserted:

“I think that this election might be an indicator that we need a new election process or some kind of restatement of the kind of people we want to be our president. ex: it shouldn’t be determined by amount of money or media clips produced.”

Categories: News

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