Young voters voice preferences in presidential race

October 27, 2012 

As Election Day nears, midstate college and technical school students are weighing in on the presidential race, listing the economy, jobs and financial aid as their top concerns.

Most of those interviewed said they have made up their minds between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, but a handful of them either haven’t decided or don’t plan to vote.

Fort Valley State University

Breanna Turner, 20, Butler

Obama supporter

Primary concern: Financial aid

“I believe what separates President Obama from his opponent is the fact that President Obama is more for the middle class. I am a part of the middle class, (and) I believe that he will ensure … my financial needs in the future and those of my parents as well.”

Anthony Boynton, 20, Columbus

Obama supporter

Primary concern: Financial aid

“President Barack Obama is a spokesman for the people. I feel that Mitt Romney is greatly inconsiderate of the middle class and the lower class, especially as it relates to the last 10 weeks of his campaign.”

Kneleta Bert, 24, Tifton

Obama supporter

Primary concern: Financial aid

“I think Obama is trying to help people of the lower class come up, versus Mitt Romney who is trying to keep the upper class up and not really pay much attention to the lower class.”

“It’s so much controversy with who is right and wrong and who’s telling the truth. (There are) a lot of people who are actually not voting because they feel like Obama and Mitt Romney are both telling stories and that they are not going to help us.”

Bianca Gouch, 20, Macon County

Obama supporter

Primary concern: Education

“I do feel like (Obama’s) really trying to make a difference. It takes more than four years to get done what he’s trying to get done.”

Christopher Kelley, 19, Covington

Obama supporter

Primary concerns: Health care and education

“I’m really concerned about the health care because of my disabled grandmother and her struggle and being financially stable with her Medicare.”

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Wesleyan College

Cassidy Gilbert, 18, Griffin

Not voting

Primary concerns: Economy, women’s rights

“I’m a registered Democrat, and I will not be voting in this year’s election because I don’t feel that either candidates are good for the country right now.”

“Mitt Romney is too focused on being too conservative, and I don’t personally like him because as a woman I don’t agree with his views on abortion. And with Barack Obama, I don’t feel like he’s kept a lot of his promises and that some things have gotten worse, and since my mom is a single mother, I know what it’s like to be struggling due to the economy.”

Jennifer Blease, 19, Fitzgerald

Romney supporter

“I plan on voting for Mitt Romney because I believe that he will be able to bring the economy back to the state that it was.”

“The way that this country has fallen, and the state that it’s in right now, it needs to be brought back with new ideas, and his ideas seem like they would work.”

Kirsten Genutis, 19, Bonaire

Romney supporter

“I’m probably going to vote for Romney just because, well, I don’t want to blame the Obama administration, but just under his auspices they haven’t done the best with the economy.”

Jessica Haynes, 19, Warner Robins

Romney supporter

“I’m planning on voting for Romney because the economic recovery these past four years hasn’t really been as quick as most of us would like, so I’m hoping that maybe he could bring something different to the table.”

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Mercer University

John Robert Wilkins III, 19, Augusta

Romney supporter

Primary concern: Government

“Obama has had some massive failures in office, and it’s time for a change.”

“Obama has drastically increased spending when he should be reducing it, and some of his foreign policies have gotten crazy.”

Larry Ross, 25, Natchitoches, La.

Obama supporter

Primary concern: Economy

“I like his views on equality and his overall plans for the economy.”

“Unemployment has gone up, and I see that. I have watched his debate, and I noticed that he is all for … bringing it down over his last few years, and I see that he has a set plan as opposed to Romney’s plan, which isn’t very basic, (and) it wasn’t spelled out for anybody.”

Bentley Hudgins, 19, McDonough

Obama supporter

Primary concerns: Economic recovery, national security and education

“I don’t think either of them are a good choice for the country, but Obama is the lesser of the evils.”

“My biggest concern is military intervention in the Middle East. I don’t think that we should be there or anywhere at all. We’ve used up a third of our budget that we do not have.”

Patrick Thomas, 20, Atlanta

Obama supporter

Primary concerns: Economy and health care

“I really like his views. I agree more with his views and where he stands. I actually support the things he has done while in office and the things he has tried to do, and I feel that he needs a second chance to run in office.”

Nakita James, 21, Columbus

Obama supporter

Primary concern: Education

“I am just really concerned with loans and the different financial aid incentives that I am aware that Romney wants to eliminate. I just want everyone to have a good opportunity at their education.”

“It’s exciting, it’s empowering and I’m just happy I am able to vote in a presidential election.”

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Macon State College

Donald Weaver, 20, Warner Robins

Romney supporter

“I am essentially concerned about the state of the economy, and I’m also not entirely big on the majority of the social programs that Obama intends on implementing.”

“To be entirely honest, I’m essentially voting for Romney because it’s a vote not for Obama because I oppose his particular policies. I feel like Romney is actually the lesser of two evils.”

William Patton, 19, Roberta

Romney supporter

“I kind of liked Obama last time, but honestly I just don’t feel like we’ve done enough in four years. And that’s not necessarily all Obama’s fault, I just feel like the economy is worse in my opinion.”

“I think that Obama’s had his chance -- just give somebody else a chance to do better.”

Deanna Rivero, 19, Miami

Romney supporter

“I work at a dollar store. I see people come in with food stamps a lot, and I think Obama has let more people (on food stamps) that don’t quite deserve it as much as some other ones do, and so I don’t like that fact.”

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Central Georgia Technical College

Timothy Ellington, 20, Macon

Obama supporter

Primary concerns: Jobs and the economy

“Mitt Romney, he really doesn’t understand the people as much as Obama really understands because Obama has been in different predicaments such as low times in his life.”

“(Obama) is for putting more jobs on the market so people can live better and have better things in life and won’t have to struggle from day to day. Not only worrying about the rich and the wealthy, but he’s worrying about both parties, so that’s what I see him helping the community out.”

Jonathan Driskell, 23, Macon

Undecided

Primary concerns: Education and financial aid

“At first I really wasn’t big on voting because I didn’t understand it fully. … For a long time, I didn’t think that us voting would make a difference.”

Michael Smith, 23, city not available

Not voting

“(Voting) don’t really count. It don’t really count as nothing.”

Yuliana Del Rio, 24, Centerville

Romney supporter

Primary concerns: Health care and immigration

“I just don’t agree a lot on Obama’s health plan.”

“…you know, illegal immigrants that are here. Not just Hispanics, you know there’s Chinese and everything. I think that they should get a chance to get a work permit to work here. I can’t really say, ‘Oh, just give them their citizenship or their green card,’ but at least have a permit to be able to work here in the states legally.”

“Last time, maybe if I would have voted, I probably would have voted for Obama. I’m glad that I didn’t vote because I think that I would’ve made the wrong decision, honestly.”

This report was compiled by students from Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism and a Telegraph intern who interviewed young people between the ages of 18 and 29 across midstate college campuses about voting in the upcoming presidential election. Telegraph intern Danyelle Gary reported from Fort Valley state University, Erica O’Neal and Rachel O’Keefe reported from Wesleyan College, Sameera Yusuf and Danae Edmonds reported from Mercer University, Brianna Green and Joseph Wozniak reported from Macon State College, and Kaylee Thompson and Emily Farlow reported from Central Georgia Technical College.

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