By Stephen Gallutia, Contributing Writer
According to the Huffington Post, young voters made up 19 percent of all those who voted in 2012. Sixty percent of those voters voted for current president Barack Obama, while 36 percent voted for Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The 19 percentile was a one-point increase from 2008.
With the 2016 election just around the corner, many are asking where that young vote will be going in the next election. The majority of Protestant voters voted for Romney in 2012, while the majority of Catholic, Jewish and Black Protestants voted for Obama. As the young vote grows more and more crucial for presidential candidates, the question lingers: Where will the young Christian vote be going in 2016?
In a poll conducted on Asbury University’s campus, 52 percent of 205 responses said they would be voting Republican in 2016, while 15 percent said they were voting Democrat. Twenty-seven percent said they were undecided, while 4 percent said they would be placing their vote with a different party. Two percent said they were not planning to vote.
Fifty-five percent of the respondents cited abortion as the main social issue behind their vote, while 26 percent claimed to be more concerned with gay marriage. Another 19 percent cited immigration as the decisive social issue.
While the campus hardly seems divided, with the majority of voters placing their vote for the Republican Party, many of the 205 poll-takers urged their fellow classmates to be educated as they head to the polls.
“The right of the American populace to participate in the decisions of this Republic is a basic right and privilege unfortunately many do not take this as serious as it should be taken,” said graduate student Shelly Chestnut. “When voting please look at the issues without the bias of news media, political correctness or social pressures and choose the candidate that you feel represents the whole of your views and protects the continued way of life that Americans have enjoyed throughout the life of this nation.”
Students like Chestnut are urging young Christian voters to educate themselves, but other polltakers are urging students not to forget their Christian foundations when arriving at the polls.
“First, I hope that we as Christ followers will not step away from our foundation, Jesus Christ,” said senior Breanna Smith. “Not only that, but it is my prayer that we would search through the Bible for answers and be able to know why we stand on certain issues. I admit I have a hard time explaining why I believe what I do, but I am challenging myself to be able to defend my faith in a way people on the other side of the issue will understand.”
Other polltakers took a completely different stance, urging voters to look beyond party politics and the candidate’s appearance to the voters.
“Parties should not dictate our choice and neither should appearance, promises they make or gender,” said sophomore Benjamin Daniel. “Who do we think will be the most effective at leading/unifying a nation and delivering with excellence? That is the question.”
Many students here share a value for the freedom to vote and urgency to be educated when voting. According to the poll, young Christian voters cherish their vote and they know their vote matters.
“A new generation of voters is rising, and hopefully they’ll be able to look past the party lines with fresh eyes and hope for a better America,” said sophomore Shelby Lawhorn. “New voters are our country’s last hope.”