For many students at the University of South Dakota, this presidential election will be their first time voting.
USD surveyed 100 students on their election opinions. Fifty-nine percent of these students said they agree with Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign and plan on voting for him on Election Day. Another 31 percent said they disagree with Romney, and fully intend to vote Democratic. The remaining 10 percent say they do not plan on voting or are not registered at all.
The College Republicans at USD have been working hard to share Romney’s campaign with the students. They have been encouraging students to vote, along with talking to them about both Democratic and Republican policies, helping students figure out where they stand when it comes to the presidential candidates.
“Romney is a very talented speaker who can appeal to the citizens by showing that his policies worked in Massachusetts and how they will work for all parties if he is elected president,” junior Stephen Bollinger, a member of the College Republicans, said. “He shows great potential to help our country reduce its national debt and bring us more jobs.”
Despite the fact Romney is going against an incumbent, Bollinger said Romney is doing exceptionally well with his campaign.
“Each candidate wants to tell the country what he has done. Obama’s words to the public have not been able to back up his actions,” Bollinger said. “Romney proves what he has done in Massachusetts and what he can do in the future to benefit our country.”
Sophomore Alayna Ackerman is director of forums for the Political Science League, a nonpartisan student organization. She has been a part of the group for two years. With the presidential election around the corner, the Political Science League has been very busy putting on debates and helping the student body realize the importance of politics on campus.
“The Political Science League, College Republicans and College Democrats have all been tabling in the MUC lately,” Ackerman said. “Students have been able to register to vote at these tables, which is really convenient because they don’t have to go all the way to the courthouse to do this anymore.”
Besides working in the MUC, PSL has also been busy putting on debates. PSL hosted a debate Oct. 24 between the College Republicans, College Democrats and College Libertarians.
“This (was) interesting because the student body (got) to see college students’ views on the race,” Ackerman said. “The (last debate) will be Nov. 1, and will be the Republican and Democrat House and Senators from the area.”
The Political Science League is nonpartisan, so from an unbiased point of view, Ackerman gave her view on how Romney is doing with his campaign.
“Romney is going against an incumbent, which is really hard for anybody to do. Obama can prove what he has done, but Romney can only say what he will do. For the position that Romney is in, he is doing outstanding,” Ackerman said.
Mary Pat Bierle, a political science professor, teaches both political science majors and 100-level classes of non-political science majors. She has been talking to her classes about the upcoming election.
“I have done two things,” Bierle said. “For my non-majors classes, the students were required to do a writing assignment. In this assignment they had to go to several websites and check what their state requires when it comes to registering and eligibility to vote, along with what they need to do to get an absentee ballot,” Bierle said. “The second thing I have done, all of my classes are required to write a 10-page paper on the presidential campaigns. Students are also required to watch one debate.”
For a lot of Bierle’s students, it will be their first time voting.
“The students seem very curious and interested,” Bierle said. “Now they can vote and realize that it affects them. Some people think that their vote won’t matter, but pollsters have said that this election will boil down to 17 counties out of the entire country.”