Getting out the Student Vote is Vital for Obama
“Don’t boo, vote!” was one of the lines from President Barack Obama that is indicative of one of his best chances to get re-elected in November. He needs to get out the vote, and he needs as many people to vote as possible. His visit to Colorado State yesterday ensures that he has a chance to spread this message to one of the most important bases of people that can help him get people out to vote: the youth.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we have a very important role to play in the get out the vote efforts for the president’s reelection effort this fall. There are a lot of us. We also usually have the energy and enthusiasm required to spend a lot of time and effort convincing our friends and family to get out and vote. And that sort of thing is exactly the sort of thing that political campaigns, particularly Democratic campaigns, need in order to succeed at the ballot box.
The Obama Campaign needs to keep making trips to college campuses and campaigning directly to students. A lot of them have been disenchanted with the Obama administration in the past few years, which is partly due to a messaging problem that the administration has been having with communicating successes that it has had with student-specific issues.
Disenchanted students means that students will not be as excited to go out and volunteer their time for the Obama campaign, which could drastically affect their get out the vote efforts. If the Obama campaign wants to keep this from happening they need to keep their focus on students, and make sure that they communicate the importance of students to their reelection efforts.
Campaign stops like the one yesterday to CSU are a great first step towards making sure that students are more likely to participate in this years election. Highlighting the administration’s efforts to allow greater access to Pell Grants and student loans is a very good way to drive up the President’s favorability amongst the student population in the United States.
The president also needs to maintain a focus on student issues, and not forget the student body’s importance to his past campaign. In the 2008 election the student vote was one of the largest block of votes cast, and it was a vital part of the Obama victory. The president needs to have a similar turnout this time around — this year’s election is going to be a close one and he needs to have as many people voting as possible.
Historically, elections that have a large turnout tend to lean in favor of the Democrats. Elections with fewer voters turning out tend to favor Republicans. For instance, the voter turnout rate for the 2008 election was about 60 percent of the public, which turned into an electoral landslide for the Democrats. The 2010 congressional election had a turnout rate of 40.7 percent, which translated into a big win for the Republicans.
If the president wants to have any chance of being reelected in November, needs to make sure that he gets large turnouts in the demographics that showed up in droves for him in 2008. His focus on students, and campaigning on college campuses like Colorado State is a good step for his campaign to take.
He needs to continue to focus on students, because excited students means a greater student turnout in November and, potentially, more student participation in his campaign’s get out the vote efforts.
Caleb Hendrich is a senior Political Science and Journalism double major. His columns appear Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.