When it comes to being informed about political decisions, as a whole neither Republicans nor Democrats at UVU take the time. On both sides of the fence, students are failing to consistently research their party’s candidates, yet they will vote and consider it very important.
In fact, according to a recent survey done on campus, those who were most informed when it came to political standings were the people who claimed to belong to no party at all.
Out of the 100 random students surveyed, 53 percent were Republican, 12 percent were Democrat, 3 percent were Libertarian, 6 percent were “other” and 26 percent claimed no party.
Of the 26 percent in the no-party category, 61.5 percent of them professed to read, watch or listen to political news one or more times a day. Democrats had 33.3 percent, and Republicans had 18.8 percent.
Although Democrats appeared to be ahead of Republicans by 14.5 percent, the actual majority of the Democratic Party surveyed claimed to read, watch or listen to political news “rarely,” meaning less than one time a month, while the majority of Republicans reported at least one to three times a month.
In addition to answering questions about their political literacy through news and media coverage, students explained why they have aligned themselves with a particular party.
Of the Democrats, 91.6 percent stated that it was because of their beliefs, religious or otherwise, and 8.3 percent said it was because they have “thoroughly researched the facts.”
Of the Republicans, 35.8 percent said they chose their party because of their beliefs, 20.7 percent because of their family, another 20.7 percent because of researching the facts and 3.7 percent said they did not know why they considered themselves to be Republican.
For those with no party affiliation, 23 percent said it was because of their beliefs, 7.6 percent because of their family, 19.2 percent because of researching the facts, 15.3 percent did not know why and 11.5 percent said they did not care why.
When asked if UVU students would ever vote for a candidate who was not aligned with their party, 83.3 percent of Democrats and 79.2 percent of Republicans said yes.
The final two questions asked whether the person was planning to vote and whether the person felt voting was important. Overall, 99 percent of students felt voting was important, but only 83.3 percent of Democrats, 67.9 percent of Republicans and 61.5 percent with no affiliation said they would vote.
When asked why there was such a contradiction between the feeling that voting is important and filling out the actual ballot, one survey student represented as a Democrat said, “I believe voting is important, but with my beliefs and where I am at it might not get me anywhere.”
Some other responses from students when asked to explain the answers to the previous two questions include:
“If you don’t vote, you have no reason to complain about what our president does,” said one Democrat who marked that he is “rarely” informed on political information, but that he will certainly vote and feels that it is important.
“I might not vote because I don’t know where to go. I also live in Utah where everyone votes Republican. Voting is not important because all politicians are liars and medical companies own them,” according to a non-affiliated student.
“I think the right to vote is important, but my vote will not count in Utah, so does it really matter?” asked a non-affiliated student, who attests to participating in political news several times a day.
“I don’t feel that I have anyone to vote for. The two presidential candidates are both so undesirable to me that I feel justified in choosing neither,” said a Libertarian.
“I may not have the time to vote, but voting is vital to our country,” said a Republican.
“If people want to make a difference then vote; don’t just complain about the country or do all this ‘talking’ without at least voting. Obama in ’08,” said one participant who is aligned with the Republican Party because of his family.
One main trend seen is that while 99 percent of students say that voting is important, only 68 percent said they will vote. Of those who are planning to vote, only 44.1 percent fall into the category of people who participate in the news at least once a day.