A recent survey released on Oct. 20 arranged and administered by
Harvard’s Institute of Politics, headlined, “Highly Independent and
Seeking Political Engagement, Youth Vote Is Up for Grabs,” claims
that while 87 percent of college students nationwide believe that
the Bush Administration has either been, “hiding some things,” or,
“mostly not telling the truth,” about the situation in Iraq.
Furthermore the majority of these students -61 percent -still
approve of the work President Bush has done since taking office in
The Institute used this piece of research to show that while
undergraduates are politically conflicted, the majority lean in
support of voting Bush into a second White House term, by a larger
margin than that of the general US population.
“This just goes to show you the amount of educating each of us
is responsible for sharing with our neighbor,” said sophomore Cat
Vasquez, a participant in the Institute for Civic Leadership.
“If voters, especially young voters, believe one thing, and then
their vote directly contradicts that, we must question the
rationale that underlies decision making in this country, in
regards to politics and government.”
The survey involved the use of 1,202 telephone interviews of
randomly selected college undergrads across the nation.
“We pursued a very random sample,” said John Chavez, a main
student organizer for the Harvard study. “With the expertise of the
Scheiders/Della Volpe/Schulman firm, we obtained a random,
nationwide pool of undergraduates.”
The survey was arranged to measure opinions in the following
categories: attitudes towards political volunteerism and political
activism; current plans in voting in the 2004 elections; opinions
and preferences in the 2004 democratic party and general election;
and current events and the War in Iraq.
Key findings of the survey determined that while the majority if
the nation’s undergraduates oppose Bush’s actions in the Iraq
conflict, students are still likely to vote for the current
president in 2004.
“As a representative poll of what our nation’s young people plan
to do,” said Vasquez, “I am energized as ever before to organize
around issues of education for college voters. The actions we take
at such a young age have broad implications for the patterns this
country will follow in my lifetime. It will be important to not be
silent on this one.”
Compared to America’s general population, college students were
depicted as: more likely to give the President a positive rating,
to express trust in the President, and to give the President more
support when matched against a, “generic” Democrat.
In contrast: undergraduates are also more likely to be critical
of the President’s Iraq policy, to think that he has lied to them
about the situation in Iraq, and more supportive of pulling all or
some troops out of Iraq immediately.
Sophomore Kathleen Stavis hypothesizes about the reasons that
underlie the apparent disconnect.
“I think that students must see foreign policy as one, smaller
part of the broader view of a President’s role. Overall, the whole
package found on Capital Hill contains many other aspects of work,
where students obviously believed Bush was a successful
Other students will also follow Vasquez’s dedication to voter
education. Abby King, a junior visiting Mills College, as a
participant in the Institute for Civic Leadership program looks
forward to being part of a mass mobilization of college
undergraduates who are dedicated to voter education.
“Voting is a powerful way to prove the representation of the
people of America, and I am dedicated to teaching on the assets of
making your voice heard,” she said.
Nicole Johnson, a PLEA major, agrees. “Putting your voice out
there at the local level is where is begins,” said Johnson. “We
have to start here, and we have to organize now, to make our
opinions and beliefs heard.”