The McCain campaign, according to CNN polls on Tuesday, is now ahead in the presidential race by 2 percent. A man who was considered an outdated underdog in April is now gaining new momentum against political superstar, Barack Obama.
Though McCain may be ahead nationally, he has largely ignored a group of voters who have the potential to sway the presidential election in November. This group is college students.
Obama interns have flooded campus since the beginning of the school year, registering voters both Republican and Democrat. They were also active during the primaries in April, registering voters and even providing students with literature, in addition to transportation to the polling stations.
Barack’s campaign has also been proactive within the college newspaper circuit and floods The Villanovan’s inbox daily while nary a Republican e-mail has appeared, even during the primaries. There has been a noticeable Republican absence on campus during a time when it seems that the party needs it most.
An article in the New York Times last week remarked on this interesting phenomenon. “You don’t see a G.O.P. messaging effort at young people,” wrote David Black, 25, a manager of political programs for Union Pacific Railroad.
Democrats have always been the favorite among the typical liberal college set, but this Republican candidate has not taken a chance to change that. Villanova, as a Catholic institution with a largely Catholic and a generally more conservative student body, would be the ideal place to create Republican rapport. But McCain has neglected that.
Perhaps the Republican campaign has merely resigned to the fact that Obama is the flashier, more youth-friendly candidate and that it’d be best to invest its time and money courting other groups, i.e. women and minorities. However, these constituents and college students are not mutually exclusive.
Women and minorities are attending college now more than ever, and it would be beneficial to the McCain campaign if it were to pursue the college community with even part of the fervor of Obama’s campaign.
This is not to say that this newspaper endorses either candidate or that the youth vote will definitely go to Obama, but the Democratic candidate’s campaign is clearly making the greater effort to include college students in the presidential process.