Out of 10 current and former University of La Verne students surveyed for an informal poll about, all said they would vote in the midterm elections next year.
Only two students knew how many House seats were up for reelection, and none of the surveyed participants knew the number of contested Senate seats.
Nine out of 10 students voted in the presidential election of 2016, and every student polled said that they would vote in the presidential election of 2020.
As for the 2018, Midterm elections take place Nov. 6, 2018.
All seats in the House of Representatives and 33 seats in the Senate are up for election, not counting the Alabama special election this December. Democrats need three more seats to take control of the Senate.
In California, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is up for re-election.
Jason Neidleman, professor of political science, said that in midterm elections, the party that does not hold the White House tends to earn more seats than the party that won the presidential election.
“You got a different electorate,” Neidleman said. “In midterm elections, fewer people turn out because they’re not mobilized by the presidential election, so you get more of a ‘purist’ party line electorate, what they call the ‘base,’ that are more motivated by ideology.”
Andrew Tompkins, sophomore business administration major, said he leans politically conservative, and that he does not talk much about politics with his friends. Still, he plans to vote.
“I would like to see changes, and I will vote to see who is most promising,” Tompkins said.
Other surveyed students said that they lean more Democratic. Damairis Lao, junior art and art history major, said that President Donald Trump’s election is her primary motivation for voting in midterm elections.
“I don’t agree with his policies,” Lao said. “And I want representatives who will stand up against him.”
The political affiliation of majority of participants who said they will vote in 2018 follows an established pattern of voting behavior during midterm elections. While the Republicans have control of the White House and both branches of Congress, the majority of surveyed students lean Democrat.
“I would vote to get more Democratic seats in the House,” said Kyle Woods, senior psychology major.
Darian Manago, senior psychology major, said that his generation (the “Millennials”) needs to mobilize during elections, and that voting is a civic duty.
“Gotta beat Trump, boys and girls,” Manago said.
Neidleman said that the lower turnout rate among college students leads to the deprioritization of issues important to that demographic.
“It’s not an accident that you take issues like Social Security or Medicare that advantage elderly people, and you have high turnout rates among the elderly, and those are secure and solid, at least in my voting lifetime. Then you take something like college loans which are significant for college-aged kids, and it’s no accident that that’s always a plaything of the politicians and they’re never secure. That’s because young people don’t vote in the same numbers as the elderly people vote.”
However, Trump’s 2016 victory may mobilize young voters into participating in midterm elections.
“I made a big mistake by not voting,” Sabrina Ferrero, senior art major said about the 2016 election. “So I’m definitely voting in the next election.”
Aryn Plax can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.