Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary election is less than 24 hours away.
Republican candidates Donald Trump and John Kasich, as well as Democratic candidates Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders all are campaigning in the state of PA on our primary election’s eve, emphasizing the importance of Tuesday’s voting outcome. While Trump and Clinton may be leading their respective parties in delegate counts, it’s still anybody’s election to win.
One of the most important voting groups of any election is the younger demographic, college students ages 18-24 for example, so News Talk WRTA headed over to the nearest campus to find out what the students from Penn State Altoona had to say about who they plan to vote for in the upcoming primary election and their views on the other candidates.
The trip was not without its fair share of uninformed comments and confused stares, but this should not be a shock as young people are notoriously uninterested in voting and political content. However, what was most alarming was the number of students on Penn State Altoona’s campus that were not registered to vote. Over half of all students interviewed on campus claimed they either did not register to vote this year, or never plan to in the future. “Sorry, I don’t vote,” was the most common statement of the afternoon.
With most of the campus and surrounding area sporting “Vote Bernie” election signs, it was not surprising to find that the better portion of students interviewed supported and planned on voting for Sanders. “When it comes to young people…he knows where we’re coming from. He fought for equal rights and everything, so I’m down with that,” said sophomore Lauren Henning.
Sophomore Madeline Killian also plans to vote for Bernie, but said she had a message for Hillary supporters. “She panders too much. The things that she says…she just says them for the votes.”
Freshman Christian Muniz had a different view on Sanders and the entire Democratic party’s candidates. “It’s not what I like about Bernie…I feel like it’s me picking the candidate that I don’t like the least,” said Muniz. “I like his idea of free college,” Muniz later added.
Another freshman named Malik Castro took the time to explain why he’s voting Sanders. “I like [Bernie’s] idea of equality for everyone. I like that his ideologies are more for the people. A lot of people don’t understand the struggles that others have to go through and I think he just does,” said Castro. When asked his views on Hillary, Castro said “I used to think she was okay, but I started paying attention to more of what she’s saying, and she’s kind of a liar. She lies a lot.”
We even managed to learn something new about Bernie Sanders, thanks to freshman Zoe Christine. “I’m voting for Bernie Sanders. I think he’s definitely popular with the youth…I just think he’s not a typical candidate and that’s what makes him unique. He’s older, he’s more conservative, but he’s also trying to be more youthful and more modern and I like that about him,” said Christine. When asked why Hillary doesn’t have her vote, she said, “I think she’s a liar. I think that she says one thing and then acts another way. I can’t really trust her. She’s tried many times to be very heavily involved with politics and has failed. I just don’t trust her.”
Hillary and Cruz supporters on campus were not unable to be found though.
Freshman Casey Williams said that Hillary’s got her vote, thanks to a bit of help from a website. “I took this quiz online, two actually, to see who I sided with, and I matched up with her…so I think I’m gonna stick with Hillary,” Williams explained.
“I’m voting for Ted Cruz,” said freshman Steven Zeski. “I have very conservative values. My family is very conservative and I don’t feel that Donald Trump fulfills that…People like his charisma. I don’t like his charisma. I think he’s too much. That’s what attracts some Republican voters and I’m not for that,” said Zeski. However, Zeski later added “To be completely honest, [Cruz] isn’t my first choice.”
One student that was interviewed had a unique take on Tuesday’s primaries. Katie Smeltzer, a freshman at Penn State Altoona, said she is registered Independent, so she is unable to vote in PA’s closed primary election. However, Katie told WRTA her thoughts on a few candidates. When asked of her views on Sanders, the seemingly most popular candidate of Penn State Altoona, Smeltzer said, “I think it’s naive thinking. I think it’s kind of a dream world that he wants to put us in. I think that we’ve always wanted these social programs to bring the poor up but I’m a firm believer in you get what you work for…I think it’ll promote laziness and I just don’t think it’s realistic…I think a big part of Bernie Sanders is him saying that he’s a democratic socialist and I think that particularly ruined it for me.” Smeltzer went on to say that Hillary is “not as bad as Sanders,” and that “she’s got the experience behind her,” to win the nomination. In terms of Republican candidate Donald Trump, Smeltzer said “I think it’d be interesting to see if Trump was actually elected. I think we’re kind of underestimating maybe how good he could be for the country even though he’s not what we would normally see in a political candidate.”
Why aren’t young people voting? Why is there a wide-spread lack of political understanding? Join the conversation over at WRTA’s official Facebook page and let us know what YOU think!