Local Politics

Candidates Chase Youth Vote

Posted March 31, 2008

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— College-age voters present political candidates with a goldmine of potential votes, and Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are going after them.

Clinton's daughter, Chelsea Clinton, was in the Triangle for the second time in three days Monday to court young voters at North Carolina State University, Peace College and the University of North Carolina. She also spoke Saturday during the state Young Democrats convention.

State Board of Election numbers show voters ages 18 to 24 are registering at a staggering rate.

Nearly 12,000 new Democrats registered in the first two months of 2008, compared with 4,100 in the same period four years ago. On the Republican side, almost 8,000 new voters have registered this year, compared with 3,400 in 2004.

"It's such an untapped constituent group," said David McLennan, a political science professor at Peace. "You have so many colleges in North Carolina. If they register to vote, it they get out to vote, they really could swing the election."

Yet, during the past two presidential elections, the participation of North Carolina's young voters ranked among the worst in the country.

In the 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore, 31 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds voted, which ranked 25th nationally.

Four years ago, when Bush ran against John Kerry, 43 percent voted, which ranked 27th nationally.

"Hopefully this year, college students will come out more and give Hillary the victory that she needs," N.C. State student Christopher Meredith said.

N.C. State student Luka Daric said Obama should get the credit for energizing most young voters.

"I am going to vote for Barack Obama when the time comes," Daric said.

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  • Travised Apr 1, 2008

    I caught her duckout on that question. It's a public family. It happened when they were in The House, and Mommy's running for the office again. It's a very fair question. She should be prepared to handle it. Just like if she was asked about Hillary being WallyWorld's lawyer and how she feels about that. That is a fair question. Anything relating to the family that happened IN office or in their PUBLIC past is a fair ball to throw, so be prepared or get out of heat.

  • dukebbfan Apr 1, 2008

    I realize some people feel it is okay to ask Chelsea about Monica but I disagree. If you want to know how Senator Clinton felt and dealt with the situation then ask her not her daughter.
    Chelesa had nothing to do with it and so therefore I dont think she should be asked how her mom felt.

  • wcnc Apr 1, 2008

    Did anyone see the clip of Chelsea on the news last night?? She was asked a question about her mother's judgement through the Lewinsky scandel....Her answer was less than impressive and spoken with as much charisma as a wet noodle.... She said that was a personal situation and she wanted to keep it that way and that most families have personal issues they don't want to discuss.....

    She doesn't get that this happened while her father was our PRESIDENT, so it's NOT a family issue, it's a PUBLIC issue and absolutely reflects on her mother....who was either ignorant or knew about it and didn't care because it would get her further politically......

  • stpjay43 Apr 1, 2008

    people are so stupid they say its none of our buisness what bill did .it is so because he could get blackmale hillary could be worried he might do it again .im so tired of people saying dont ask chelsa that.we keep putting ppls in office with out answers is gonna mess this country up.

  • JustAName Apr 1, 2008

    "Get out the vote", "Rock the vote", blah blah blah.
    They'll register, but will they show up?

  • Travised Mar 31, 2008

    Sure the poster isn't to read he'll burn her for Obama's race position over Hillbillary?

    Nice try Chealsy, is this what all your college training prepared you for?

  • whatelseisnew Mar 31, 2008

    The image of two Senators screaming vote for me as they chased throngs of college students down the road, just popped into my head. Although, I don't agree with their choice of either candidate, it is good to see so many younger people excited about an election.