While the most recent Gallup poll has former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney up five points among likely voters in the 2012 presidential election, a majority of Temple students plan to vote to re-elect President Barack Obama, according to a Temple News poll of 405 students between the ages of 18 to 29.
The findings of The Temple News poll are consistent with Gallup polls of young voters. Among likely voters aged 18 to 29, Obama is expected to carry 58 percent of the vote nationally, according to the most recent Gallup poll. Among Temple students, Obama will carry 65 percent of the vote, according to The Temple News poll.
Obama is particularly favorable among young women at Temple. Of 207 female Temple students who will likely vote in the upcoming election, 77 percent said they’d vote for Obama, 13 percent said they’d vote for Romney and 8 percent are undecided, according to The Temple News poll.
Sophomore criminal justice major Amber Martin said she’s voting for Obama because she believes he has earned the chance to continue the work he’s been doing since he took office in 2009.
“I think [Obama] is trying his best. It takes time to fix things,” Martin said. “He’s doing it slowly but surely. I believe he came into a big mess and he’s just trying to fix it. I think Romney will make even a bigger mess than President [George] Bush did.”
Romney fares better among young men at Temple, but still trails Obama by 12 points, according to the poll. Of 108 likely male voters at Temple, 41 percent said they’d vote Obama, 30 percent said they’d vote Romney and 18 percent are undecided, according to the poll.
Sophomore actuarial science major Fred Kucherovsky said his vote for Romney is based more on what he considers to be the failures of the Obama administration rather than his hopes of a Romney administration.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m so much for Romney as I’m voting against Obama,” Kucherovsky said. “I’m not really enthusiastic about either candidate, but I’m voting for what I consider to be the lesser of two bad options.”
Kucherovsky selected health care as the issue that matters most to him in the election. Kucherovsky wants to be an actuary for an insurance agency, and the Affordable Care Act passed by the Obama administration has a negative impact on his industry, he said. If elected president, Romney would work with Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, according to the plan for office on Romney’s website.
“I’m just really against [the Affordable Care Act],” Kucherovsky said. “My current health care will get more expensive and be worse. If Romney is going to appeal [it], then that’s my No. 1 issue.”
Overall, students picked health care as the issue most concerning them in the context of the upcoming election. Specifically, a majority of students who said they’d vote for Obama identified health care as an issue that matters most to them, including senior computer science major Andrew Pawloski.
Pawloski voted for Obama in 2008 and said though he’s not thrilled with Obama’s first four years, he has earned his vote again in 2012.
“I think I feel the way a lot of students do, and a lot of people who voted for Obama in the past,” Pawloski said. “Some of the promises he made the first time around haven’t been made. But the question is, ‘Is Romney going to address these in more effective ways than Obama?’ And I don’t think that’s the case.”
Among undecided voters, economic issues are most important. Unemployment, taxes and the national debt were three of the five most important issues voted by Temple students. Senior risk management and marketing major Myles Federico is undecided and said his vote will be based on the candidates’ economic policies.
“I originally thought Romney, because he’s business savvy, but I think Obama has done better in the debates and is a more personal candidate,” Federico said. “The debates have swayed me to be undecided. Romney kept saying he has a five-point plan, but he hasn’t said too much about that plan.”
Junior broadcast journalism major Tanya Hubbard said she voted for Obama in 2008, but is undecided in this election due to what she perceives as a failure of the Obama administration to pass legislation. Hubbard said she wasn’t disappointed in Obama’s first four years, but discouraged.
“It’s not that I feel like [Obama] is not doing everything he can, it’s that the Democrats and Republicans are so divided that Republicans aren’t going to let him get anything done,” Hubbard said. “Nothing against him, but I need a president in office who can push bills and get things done.”
The Temple News poll indicates Temple students who identify issues with the economy as most important to them are more likely to vote for Romney. Unemployment and national debt were the two most important issues to Romney voters, while they were third and fifth most important issues to Obama voters, respectively.
“I realize in the next four years I’m going to be actually searching for a job,” Kucherovsky said. “I just feel like [Romney is] better equipped to have the economy in the right state where I’m going to have a better chance to get a quality job.”
“Part of it’s who I believe is going to make our economy better, but I also just don’t agree with some of the things Romney has said at all,” Martin said. “I feel that sometimes he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And if he doesn’t know these things, how can we trust him in the White House to know what he’s doing?”
According to The Temple News poll, 77 percent of Temple students are likely to vote in the upcoming election. Ten percent of students polled indicated they were undecided if they would vote in the election, while the remaining 13 percent said they would not vote at all.
Election Day is Nov. 6.
Joey Cranney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @joey_cranney.