USF students show strong support for Obama again
National political pundits might want to pay attention to the presidential straw poll at the University of South Florida, where the results tracked closely to the exit polls in 2008. On Monday, 1,600 students took part in the seventh straw poll on the Tampa campus where 63 percent of the students voted for President Barack Obama, and 30 percent voted for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. In 2008, 64 percent of the students voted for Obama, and 32 percent for John McCain, which mirrored the national exit poll that found 66 percent of the voters under the age of 30 for Obama and 31 percent for McCain. Many students, who said they are getting emails from campaigns, said they are registered voters.Students voted for president, senator and a handful of the state's amendments. "It's pretty important for my future to know who I am going to vote for," said John Byrd, a junior. One political expert says the winner in Florida could be determined by which generation shows up at the polls. "If the older voters dominate Florida more this time than they did in '08, Romney may very well carry Florida," said Dr. Susan MacManus, USF political science professor. "If the younger vote is up where it was last time, Obama will probably carry Florida." In the Senate race, Sen. Bill Nelson got 60 percent of the vote, to 30 percent for Connie Mack, according to The Oracle, the student newspaper. Most of the students voting said they are Democrats, 40 percent, compared to 25 percent Republicans and 23 percent independents, the Oracle reported. Jobs/economy was the top issue with 45 percent marking it as a priority, followed by 31 percent for education and 12 percent for health care.
News Channel 8 reporter Lauren Mayk contributed to this report.