Poll: Young voters pessimistic about country’s direction

According to a new poll, 63 percent of young adults are paying “a lot” or “some” attention to candidates in the upcoming November elections.

But are the candidates paying attention to them?

Young Voter Strategies, a nonpartisan group supporting political involvement by students and young adults, released its own analyses of the annual Battleground poll taken at George Washington University.

80 percent of the young persons interviewed are registered to vote, and nearly two-thirds have been giving the election considerable attention.

Only 14 percent said that they had paid no attention to the upcoming election.

According to the poll, young adults are pessimistic about the direction of the country. A majority of those polled said that they thought the government was moving down the wrong track, while only 31 percent said that they felt things were going in the right direction.

Many young voters are not satisfied by current campaigns. They have indicated that candidates are not talking enough about the issues important to young adults.

Seventy percent said that candidates are spending too little time talking about college affordability, which 17 percent said is the topic they are most concerned about.

Another 13 percent listed jobs and the economy as their top concern, and 68 percent said that candidates are not talking about creating jobs as much as they should be.

Forty percent thought that candidates spent too much time talking about the war in Iraq and 29 percent felt too much time was being spent on homeland security and terrorism, while only 9 percent saw it as their top concern.

Only four percent of those polled listed moral values as their top priority.

Overall, 65 percent of those surveyed viewed the Democratic Party favorably while only 38 percent viewed the Republican Party in a favorable light.

More young adults intend to vote for Democratic nominees, with 43 percent to 22 percent who would vote Republican. 35 percent remain undecided, which is up from the 30 percent who were undecided in April.

With regard to Iraq, young adults are twice as likely to vote for a Democratic candidate as they are for a Republican. Eighty-six percent of respondents said that a candidate’s position on the war in Iraq is important to them in deciding whom to vote for.

President Bush’s approval rating in the survey was 37 percent, which was up from 35 percent he received in a Young Voter Strategies poll in April. However this is lower than the overall approval rating of 41 percent found in a national poll conducted this week by Marist College.

Twenty-one percent of those surveyed in the George Washington Young Voter Strategies poll were full-time students, 10 percent part-time students, 26 percent were graduates from two or four year colleges, and 33 percent had no college experience.

The poll was conducted by Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners and Ed Goeas of The Terrance Group. The nationwide poll was conducted from Sept. 10 to 17 using professional interviewers. 650 people between 18 and 30 were surveyed.

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