By JAMES WILCOX
With Rick Santorum announcing his resignation from the G.O.P. nomination campaign this Tuesday, it seems that Mitt Romney will represent the Republican Party in the upcoming 2012 presidential election in November. As the polls for the G.O.P. have taken place in each of the states, the number of people voting has gone down significantly compared to the number of people that voted in 2008 leaving some people wondering; why aren’t as many people voting?
During the election in 2008 the battle for presidency was over an open seat which tends to draw more voters. Another unique characteristic of the 2008 election was that more citizens in the age range of 18 to 25 voted than ever had before, according to Professor Darby Marrisroe a government professor here at SLU. “The 2008 election was the third election in a row where the numbers increased,” stated government professor, Alan Draper.
Many people attribute the large amount of young voters that voted in 2008 to the increase in the use of technologies such as Facebook and Twitter to help portray opinions and policies of each of the presidential candidates. “In the 2008 election, Obama targeted the youth very effectively through his use of social media, which is part of the reason why he won the election,” explicated Marrisroe.
For this year’s G.O.P. nomination the republicans have gotten the memo and started to use social media technologies as well in order to draw more young voters towards their policies, yet still there has been less of a turnout in each of the states in terms of the number of voters. “Sometimes voters are motivated by dire circumstances, which was the case in 2008,” said Marrisroe as she talked about why there was such a large turnout in the 2008 elections.
In 2008, not only was there an open seat for the presidency, but our economy was in very bad shape and we had troops in Iraq as well as Afghanistan. These are all topics that provoked large opinions from citizens and forced people to go out in vote for the candidate that they felt stood for the policies that they believed in. Although our countries economy is still not doing so well, there seems to be less of a motivation for people to go out and vote for the republican candidates.
This could be a problem for Obama. In his campaign in 2008 there were a large number of people that voted for him that were 18 to 25 years of age as he was able to reach out to them via the social media. “Obama will try and target the youth again, and it will most likely be through his effective use of social media,” said Marrisroe.
Romney has also become familiar with using the social media as he has tried to reach out to young citizens through Facebook and Twitter during the republican nominations. “Romney certainly looks presidential; articulate, smart and handsome enough,” indicated Draper. Although the media continues to portray Romney as a candidate who is undecided on many of his policies, “Politics is about getting what you can, and compromising over some things,” said Draper.
Here at St. Lawrence the Hill News has raised awareness in other ways besides using the online social media medium through printing reviews of what each of the republican candidates policies are during the republican nominations. The republican and democratic clubs meet frequently to discuss the nomination and upcoming election as well, but one can always do more to raise awareness about the upcoming election, says Draper.