TAMPA - The way USF students vote could tell volumes about which way Florida voters are leaning this Presidential election.
Out of the 1,645 students who voted, 63% cast a ballot for President Barack Obama and 30% voted for Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Obama's 63% was just one percentage point less than 2008's USF Straw Poll where he won 64% of the vote.
"I'm watching the debates and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook," said USF Freshman Edwin Aguilar.
"I know there's been a lot of push to get students registered to vote and I think that's the first step," said USF Sophomore Julissa Ponce.
18-year-old Ponce says she'll be voting for the first time but there is a question if the youth vote will turn out in large numbers as they did four years ago.
"If I had to make a guess, I would say President Obama has a slight advantage because the youth vote did go that way in 2008, but it’s really up in the air this year, I think,” said USF Political Science Honor Society Member Stacy Dolan.
Dr. Susan MacManus runs the USF Straw Poll which is a litmus test that grabs national attention every year. The diverse campus, in many ways, mirrors Florida's population and is cradled in the important I-4 voting corridor.
"These young college students are just as stressed economically as their parents and their grandparents. A lot of them are taking more hours just trying to get through. They don't have time to be really as engaged in politics. They don't have the time to work in the campaign headquarters and go out on the street corner to the degree that they did in '08," said MacManus.
USF's straw polls record is pretty solid. In 2008, it was just a few percentage points off from how 18-to-29-year olds cast their ballots for President.
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