The Presidential Election is just around the corner and variouscampaigns have been launched by non-profit groups and mediaorganizations to boost voter turnout, particularly theparticipation of American youth.
According to MTV’s “Choose or Loose”poll, three in four Americans under the age of 30 are registered tovote, while eight in 10 actually plan to vote. Furthermore,37 percent of the polltakers believe this election holds extremeimportance and their involvement can somehow affect theresults.
Eight in 10 say they are paying attention tothis election, one in three are paying very close attention to thepresidential campaigns and 47 percent say they are paying at leastsome attention. Overall, widespread attention has increasedfor this election as opposed to those of 1996 and 2000.
In terms of a choice for president, DemocratJohn Kerry ranked higher than President Bush with a margin of 46percent to 40 percent. However, there was not overwhelmingfavoritism toward either candidate.
Independent Party candidate Ralph Nader seemedto gain more support from younger voters bringing in four to threepercent of the nation’s voters.
The poll revealed that amongst the contenders,Kerry appears to cater more to the interests of young people asopposed to Bush. Forty-eight percent of the poll participantsthink Kerry understands their priorities while 40 percent thinkotherwise. In terms of President Bush, 30 percent feel hedoes not share their priorities.
Economic and social issues shape theperception young voters have of the candidates. Thecandidate’s personal qualities and positions on issues willserve as determining factors when votes are cast, says 85percent.
Thirty-five percent of young voters said theirprimary issue of concern involves jobs and the economy. Threepercent said the economy is in good condition, 50 percent saidfairly good condition, and 36 percent said fairly badcondition. Only 10 percent feel the economy is currently inbad condition.
Terrorism and national security amounted to 22percent and 12 percent assigned education as a concern.
In relevance to the rate of how things aregenerally going in this nation, 37 percent said things are going inthe right direction while an alarming 58 percent feel things areoff track. Five percent are unsure.
Views on the war in Iraq vary as 49 percentthink the Bush administration was justified in invading Iraq and 45percent believe the US should have not have engaged in the war withIraq.
The military draft was another polltopic. Thirty-two percent feel the draft will be reinstatedwhile 52 feel it will not be reinstated. Surprising, 18percent favor the draft, 78 percent are in opposition, and 4percent are unsure.
The poll took place shortly after theRepublican National Convention. The participants were maleand female ages 18-29.
CBS News conducted the poll on behalf of MTVand The Center for information and Research on Civic Learning &Engagement. Viacom owns CBS and MTV networks.