Tag Archive: Yale on the Trail: The Youth Vote

  1. Primary day at Dartmouth: out-of-state students take advantage

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    HANOVER, N.H., 12:51 p.m. — Today might as well be a holiday at Dartmouth College.

    With presidential elections — and the primaries that go with them — coming once every four years, Dartmouth students typically get only one opportunity in their college lifetime to experience the spectacle that is the New Hampshire primary.

    For the university’s 4,000 undergraduates, today is that one chance — and the buzz around campus is unmistakable. All day, Dartmouth students poured out of the polling place at Hanover High School. As they walked back to campus, the chatter about the different candidates seemed almost non-stop.

    The visits to Dartmouth have also been non-stop. Virtually every candidate has stopped in at Dartmouth at least once, and a televised debate was held here in the fall.

    As recently as last night, President Bill Clinton LAW ’73 and Senator John McCain both came to speak at Dartmouth, and Senator Barack Obama held a massive rally on campus this morning. The politicians brought backup, too: the comedian Larry David is also hanging around, stumping for Obama. Arianna Huffington is here, too.

    But students said the allure of the primary comes from more than just the celebrity visitors. Out-of-state students like sophomore Marcus Gadson, of Indianapolis, register to vote here because of the New Hampshire primary’s impact on narrowing down the field of presidential candidates.

    Since Gadson’s home state will not choose its candidates until May 6, he said he felt his vote did not count for much there. But here, it is coveted.

    “That’s one of the great perks of going to Dartmouth,” he said on the way to cast his vote.

    Return tomorrow for extended coverage of primary day at Dartmouth. For now, we are headed to catch Mike Huckabee as he visits a nearby polling place, and then it’s off to the Obama headquarters in Nashua to watch the returns as they come in.

    — Thomas Kaplan

  2. Is America ready for a Mrs. President?

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    GERMANTOWN, Tenn., 11:13 a.m. — Hillary Clinton is struggling to lock in the votes of a demographic that American may have once thought was a given — women, especially the younger ones.

    CNN reported this morning that in their latest New Hampshire polls, Clinton trails Barack Obama by two percentage points among women in the state.

    Why is Clinton losing her female following? Turns out it’s another generation gap. Younger women, who have not personally experienced discrimination because of their sex, don’t see the importance and urgency of electing a women president this time around, CNN reports. They’re convinced if it doesn’t happen this time, then it will in four years, or even eight.

    And some older women are simply turned off by the idea of a woman in such a “nontraditional” role. Instead, they see promise in Obama’s relationship-oriented, coalition-building message, rather than Clinton’s experience and assertiveness. While some women do admire her for her strength, more want to see a more spontaneous, candid, emotional Clinton.

    So how will Hillary’s aggressiveness be viewed among New Hampshire’s women? We’ll see in about nine hours.

    The Yale Daily News

  3. ‘So goes Hart’s Location, so goes the nation’

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    HART’S LOCATION, N.H., 4:30 a.m. — It is the land of moose crossings and low, clinging fog; a place, in the immortal opening words of Twin Peaks, where “an orange light still means slow down.”

    But Hart’s Location, N.H. has attracted the attention of the nation every four years since 1996 when it restarted the tradition of positioning itself as the first town in the first primary state to vote. True, there is another contender, Dixville Notch — a small community 80 miles north of here. But Hart’s Location-ites don’t like to think about them here.

    “We believe that we are the first town to vote,” said Nancy Ritgard, a resident who helped in the polling booth. “There’s another small town that does that, but we’re much faster. And better.”

    She added, “We were the ones that started it.”

    The tradition began in 1948 but was phased out in 1964 when, some say, Dixville Notch stole the spot with a fast clock and an intrepid photographer who managed to get pictures out before anyone did here.

    Others disagree.

    “They just got tired of it and they stopped,” said Caroline King, a volunteer who owns the original kitchen table where the votes were collected from 1948 to 1964. “I’ve got the table at home,” she said.

    True to its basic origins, the poll takes place in a small makeshift cabin up a small bank, indicated only by a truck with flashing lights sitting on the road. The atmosphere is jovial, almost that of a village fête but on a tiny scale. Everybody knows each other, apart from the two or three journalists (one who comes from as far away as France). Lumberjack shirts abound even though we are miles away from Williamsburg, Brooklyn and its hipster chique. The ambiance contributes to the tight-knit nature of the gathering, festooned with flags and posters of previous results.

    Two hours away from any substantial hub of civilization on a desperately lonely road, Hart’s Location residents should not be surprised that they attract so few here. The cabin doesn’t even have running water.


  4. Chuck Laudner, the morning after, on 2008: ‘Year of the new voter’

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    DES MOINES, Iowa, 2:45 p.m. – “It’s like the morning after a party,” Iowa State Republican Party Exectuive Director Chuck Laudner says, surveying the phone banking room that looks like a fraternity ripped through it. “Everyone just picks up and goes home, and we’ve got to clean up.”

    And that’s just what it is: the morning after the biggest party in Iowa caucus history. Laudner – a lifelong Iowan – has been watching and participating in caucuses for decades, and he says he’s never seen anything like this.

    “When the history of this Iowa caucus is written, it will be remembered as the year of the new voter,” Laudner predicts. “You saw 25 to 30 percent of caucus-goers self-identifiying as first-time caucusgoers. It’s all these people who had never voted before so their names weren’t on voter registration lists, or young people who were going to their first caucus.”

    Huckabee works the crowd

    Mike Huckabee works the crowd last night. (YDN)


  5. For young Paul believers, a tough night

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    DES MOINES, Iowa, 1:50 PM – The Ron Paul for President after-party feels like a funeral. Onstage, a folksy singer croons out a tune with an acoustic guitar. A spattering of Ron Paul supporters stand around holding plastic plates of cheese cubes.

    It was a rough night yesterday for the Texas Congressman and his libertarian platform. But over Chex Mix and pepper jack, we found a few young believers.


  6. Emphasizing change, Obama, Huckabee capture Iowa victories

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    WASHINGTON, 9:50 p.m. — Illinois Senator Barack Obama and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will both leave Iowa and head to New Hampshire tomorrow with the wind at their backs but facing vastly different political terrain as the Granite State’s Jan. 8 primary approaches.

    Obama, riding a wave of support among first-time and college-age caucus-goers that put him over the top Thursday, will hit the stump well positioned to grab a second victory five days from now. Recent polls in the state have shown the senator in the lead or in a statistical tie with New York Senator Hillary Clinton LAW ’73, whose aura of inevitability may erode further if she fails to come out on top.

    By contrast, Huckabee has much ground to make up in New Hampshire, where former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s second-place finish tonight leaves him and Arizona Senator John McCain in a horse race. More libertarian and socially liberal than Iowa and less populated by evangelical Christians — who make up Huckabee’s base — New Hampshire may prove difficult for the former Baptist minister.

    Obama Wins

    Huckabee Wins

    Eric Thayer/Getty Images


  7. A student revolution: Valley High School for Obama ’08

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    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa, 7:44 PM — Zachary Hayes and Justin Jodoin are seventeen. So are Drew Sorge and Matt Stilwell. All four students turn eighteen before November’s general election and — according to Iowa election law — are eligible to participate in the caucus. And caucus they have, making their political voices heard for the first time.

    Tonight, they stood with Illinois Senator Barack Obama.


  8. Just a Hobby — Atul Nakhasi and the Iowa Democrats

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    IOWA CITY, Iowa, 4:33 p.m. — “It’s hard to believe it’s all going to be over tomorrow,” says 19-year-old Atul Nakhasi from behind a laptop and scattered piles of paper. He’s trying to figure out in the next two hours how to run a caucus in Iowa’s largest student precinct – precinct 5 of Iowa City. “I’m kind of going to miss it.”


  9. Obama enjoys overwhelming youth support in Iowa

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    NEW HAVEN, Conn., 10:00 a.m. — Senator Barack Obama topped all other candidates by a two-to-one margin in a recent Yale Daily News poll. A commanding victory, right?

    Well, sure — but nothing compared to the support he found among young voters in the influential Des Moines Register poll released Monday night.

    A whopping 56 percent of likely caucus participants between the ages of 18 and 34 support the Illinois senator, according to the poll, considered the most important gauge of electoral support leading up to tonight’s caucus. That’s three-and-a-half times the support that any other Democratic candidate received from that demographic.

    Sixteen percent supported former Senator John Edwards, and 11 percent backed Senator Hillary Clinton LAW ’73.

    — Thomas Kaplan

  10. On Iowa students’ minds: Do we matter?

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    DES MOINES, Iowa, 2:30 a.m. — In the wee hours of the morning of Iowa’s “First in the Nation” caucuses, all eyes are on the Midwestern state and its voters — some old and seasoned, some college freshmen.

    Tonight could make or break the political will of a generation.

    If college students around Iowa decide that this is actually the year — as they have been saying for months — that youth make change, expect to see a massive increase in voter participation. And a crushing victory for the Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

    But that’s a big “if.”

    Thousands of students who go to school in Iowa don’t live in the state and, since the primaries came early this year, many are still on winter break. It’s anyone’s guess whether or not they’ll return to vote in large numbers.

    It’s all on the line.