This archived article was written by: Marsha Jensen
Millions across the globe watched as the United States elected their 44th president. As the campaigns came to a close, and voting booths tallied up the ballets, history was made. The next president of the U.S. will be Barack Obama, an African-American senator from Illinois.
Students at the College of Eastern Utah were among those voters who helped decide the new president. A straw poll after the elections found that some students were unable to vote because they were registered in their hometowns and many did not send in their absentee ballets. Still others were simply too busy to vote, whether registered or not. Eiher way, each student had an opinion about the candidates and why they should or should not have been elected.
When asked about their choice, students’ main response was, “He’s the lesser of two evils.” Most seemed in agreement that neither candidate was qualified to be president, so they chose the one they thought would do a better job. Still, some students knew exactly why they picked their candidate.
“I voted for John McCain because people said that the economy was their biggest concern,” said CEU student Kelton Wells. “McCain’s ideas were closer along the lines of Ronald Regan, who really avoided an economic crisis in the ’80s. A lot of Obama’s policies … . are the things that Herbert Hoover implemented in the ’30s that sent us right to the Great Depression.”
Voters in the area seemed to have the same idea with McCain, taking the replican-dominated state in a landslide of votes. Obama claimed around 34 percent of Utah’s voters; while McCain ended with nearly 68 percent. And in Carbon County, John McCain walked away with 52.5 percent, while Obama trailed with 44.7 percent of votes.
This attitude seemed to reach CEU students also. Surprisingly, 44 percent of students chose McCain, 29 percent chose Obama and 27 percent said they didn’t vote at all. This is surprising because Obama’s main focus was on younger voters and getting them interested in his ideas of “Change.” Although Utah is the most republican state in the union, many students were expected to vote for Obama.
Most CEU students polled had valid reasons to support their choice of candidate. Democrats said they believed McCain would be a third term of George W. Bush. They also said that he was more confident and able to captivate the people better than Sen. McCain. Age was another concern among voters, with most saying that the republican leader wouldn’t last long in office, therefore leaving us with Sarah Palin as president. Nearly all of those who chose Obama just wanted change in the way the country is run.
Republican students were passionate about their opinions also, claiming they didn’t trust Obama’s inexperience or his ideas of a socialist system. They also showed concern with Obama’s choice in raising taxes and his “lack of patriotism” – meaning his refusal to salute the flag or wear the presidential flag pin.
Whatever the reason for their votes, it was refreshing to see that students were aware and informed about each candidate and where the government could be headed. It is believed voters had more of a say in this election than in any other. Over 126 million people voted in this year’s election and the people have chosen President-elect Barack Obama. Kellie Henderson contributed to this story.