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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Study: Young voters apathetic

(U-WIRE) CORVALLIS, Ore. — As the field of Democrats running for their party’s presidential nomination shrinks from eight to one in the coming months, many young people won’t be paying attention, but some on campus are already organizing in support of one candidate.

A study released Sunday by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press suggests that young people, classified as 18- to 29-year-olds, are relatively uninterested in election news. Meanwhile, those who are watching the election somewhat closely are moving away from traditional new sources, often relying on comedy programs for the latest headlines.

At the same time, presidential candidate Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, has a number of student supporters on the OSU campus. The “Generation Dean” group has 29 registered members and continues to grow, according to President A.J. Burton.

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It appears that our on-campus Dean supporters are in the minority when it comes to interest in the campaigns.

Most young people — 64 percent — say they are “not even somewhat interested” in news about the Democratic Party’s primary campaigns, according to the Pew Center survey.

Robert Sahr, an Oregon State University political science professor who studies politics and media, noted that Oregonians do not vote in a primary election until May, when the Democratic nominee will likely already be known.

For that reason, Sahr said many local voters, including young people, may not choose to follow the election.

“I think that’s the single most important factor,” Sahr said, noting that college campuses in Iowa or New Hampshire likely have more political activity related to the Democratic campaigns.

The first major event of the primary season, the Iowa Caucus, will be held Monday, and the Jan. 27 New Hampshire primary follows.

Sean Rey, the treasurer of the OSU College Democrats and a computer science major, said that when young people ignore politics, politicians ignore young people.

“It’s a vicious cycle. Politicians pay attention to people who vote for them,” Rey said. “Until we get out there and start voting, attention won’t be paid to us.”

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