MHS weighs in on the election

Joe Zappa, Editor-In-Chief

The 2012 election has brought with it an unprecedented amount of political buzz among young people. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have facilitated the flow of information among those who might not even seek it out; with the additional informational sources of dinner-table chatter and education, it has been hard not to learn something about the upcoming presidential election.

New York’s third congressional district, of which Massapequa is a part, voted for Senator John McCain 52 to 47 percent over then-senator Barack Obama in 2008. It appears that this slightly conservative bias among the district’s voters exists among Massapequa’s youth as well, because 55 percent of students polled on October 22 said they would vote for Republican Mitt Romney if given the chance to weigh in on the November 6 election.

Perhaps this trend among the town’s future electorate is a product of the influence of those Massapequans already voting: their parents. In fact, 29 percent of students polled said their parents were the main influence in how they think politically. Friends of students were also a factor at 16 percent, with education holding the lowest weight at nine percent.

However, this is the age of information, and the prevailing source of information for students seems to be the media. Almost half of the students claimed the media as their primary influence in this mock election.

“With teens spending a lot of their time on the internet, it is easy to see that their political views would be influenced by what they see on sites like YouTube and Facebook,” senior Tom Clemente said.

As the media is clearly the students’ main influence, the economy is unequivocally the first issue on their minds. Forty-nine percent of students said the economy is the most important issue for this election, which far exceeds the frequency of the second issue, national security, which received 17 percent of the vote.

This fiscal concentration can be attributed to the influences of media and parents on students’ thoughts. The economy is generally the most important issue to voters, as it is the issue which affects them most directly.

There are also clear differences between President Obama and Governor Romney’s approaches to solving America’s economic woes, which has made for an impassioned debate between the candidates themselves and their supporters.

“I’d like to have a job after college in the field I study and if common goods were less expensive I would be able to save a good deal of money,” senior Lawrence Vedilago said.

Many voters feel as Vedilago does. They know that a better economy will lead to an easier life, and that is an obvious concern for the vast majority of voters. However, there are also many students (and voters) who consider the political ramifications of the United States’ economic strength.

“I’d say the economy [is the most important issue], since our position in foreign relations will ultimately depend on whether we have the economic strength to remain one of the most powerful countries on Earth,” junior Ryan Schulte said.

Thus, the 2012 presidential election embodies change and continuity in American political culture. The economy remains the primary issue, and its relevance is elevated during tough fiscal times. More dynamically, the rapid growth of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter has led to a dependence on media for information. More than ever, students rely on the internet for what they need to know, and as time goes on one can only foresee an exacerbation of that reliance. Finally, the voters of Massapequa still lean to the right, if only by a slight margin. The question is whether the majority’s hopes will be realized in 2012, or if the smaller portion of the population will experience victory once again, despite the voting tendencies of their district.

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