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Classes at UNC start tomorrow, and the town is buzzing with renewed energy. Today students are discussing their summer reading, Blood Done Sign my Name.

Local blogger Fred Stutzman recently did a simple analysis of UNC students' self-identified political leanings, and found the campus is definitely liberal, but not as much as many conservatives claim.

Interesting, but the real question on my mind is: will any of these students be voting this year?



Everyone knows it's the liberal professors who are assailing the conservative students with their communist beliefs! [/sarcasm][/Tom Tomorrow]

Fred Stutzman's excellent analysis of student's self professed political leanings as registered at facebook.com is interesting -- but note two things:
1) the sample is just of undergraduates, and graduate and professional students from my experience tend to be more liberal than undergraduates
2) the sample of students who choose to register to vote in their college town is much more likely to be liberal than the student body as a whole. For instance at NCSU last fall, people tried to discourage me from doing on-camus voter registraton because "NCSU students are for Bush", and indeed, there were some polls that showed that. But in the 2004 presidential election, Kerry carried the on-campus early voting site by a 4400 to 1900 margin, and on election day, carried the on-campus precinct by a margin of 1200 to 900

If by "renewed energy" you mean "too many people," then sure. :)

At any rate, Fred's analysis actually seems about right to me. I wish there were a way to break those political afflilations down into social and economic beliefs -- I'd wager that the average Carolina student (conservative or liberal) leans socially liberal and economically conservative. No evidence. Just a hunch.

As far as whether students will vote -- we'll see. Take a gander at the DTH opinion page tomorrow; we're running what essentially boils down to a primer for why students should get off their butts and into the voting booth.

I spent almost 4 hours downtown Friday evening registering new voters in honor of the 85th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Not a very scientific poll, but based on the responses I got from students I spoke with, many are already registered to vote. I'm guessing this is a consequence of last years election.

I did collect some new voters, helped complete the form for a dozen more and handed out about 15 more applications for students wishing to change their locality but that represents a small fraction of all the people I approached.

Given that, I'd say we have a large pool of prepared student voters. Now we just need to increase their enthusiasm to get them to turn out.


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