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Harvard Study Finds Record Political Engagement Among College Students

A study of college undergraduates conducted by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics found that students plan to vote in record numbers on November 2. According to the study, conducted by the polling firm Schneiders/Della Volpe/Schulman, 84 percent of students say they will “definitely be voting” in November, up from a little over 50 percent at this time in 2000. According to the study, Kerry is leading among college students by 13 points, with an even greater lead of 17 points in the battleground states. Kerry has an 11-point gender gap among college students, with 58 percent of women and 47 percent of men supporting him. “There are over nine million college students in America, and their vote will matter this year – especially in swing states,” said Philip Sharp, the director of the Institute of Politics in the Kennedy School of Government. “Neither campaign can afford to ignore them. Our findings represent a major revival of student political engagement.” The Institute of Politics attributes at least part of the increase to massive student voter registration campaigns, particularly in the battleground states. Sixty-two percent of students surveyed have been encouraged to vote, and more than 50 percent said they were assisted by a group or an individual in registering to vote. “For the past three election cycles, we have been registering young people to vote,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “This year is strikingly different. Far more young people are motivated to vote than ever before.”

Sources:

Institute of Politics study 10/21/04; Feminist Majority Foundation

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