Poll: Students prefer Obama

Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain may be best candidate for “Joe the Plumber,” but a poll released this week indicates that Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama is the clear favorite with “Joe the Student.”

In a CBS News, UWIRE and the Chronicle of Higher Education poll of 25,000 University students in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina, 60 percent of student voters favored Obama, and 90 percent of the students polled are registered voters that plan to cast ballots in the election. The results were presented in an expert panel discussion in Jack Morton Auditorium Monday morning.

“The youth is fed up with taking the brunt of all the issues,” said Heather Smith, executive director of Rock the Vote. “They graduate from college with debts, have health care issues and more, they want change. The majority favor Obama because they feel he will be able to deliver their desired change.”

But the Democratic presidential nominee’s appeal with young people goes beyond just his maxim of “change.”

“Students generally consider Obama as someone who cares about the people,” said Anthony Salvanto, survey manager for CBS News.

The panel discussed how the ages of the candidates factor into their appeal among young voters.

Obama, 47, appeals more to students than McCain, 72, the panelists said. More than 40 percent of students said McCain’s age would make his presidency too difficult.

“The age difference of Obama and McCain is an entire generation,” GW professor Steve Roberts said. “Obama is the age of a current student’s parents, while McCain is closer to the age of their grandparents.”

The panel said that young voters should voice their opinions in this election because the next president will have a major impact on them.

“You try being a senior in college today and trying to find a job,” Roberts said, followed by sweeping applause from the audience. “This election relates to students directly and even personally.”

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