At College, Ariz. Governor Debate Draws Apathy

Sep 1, 2010 12:26pm

ABC News on Campus reporter Tia Castaneda blogs: So far controversial Republican Gov. Jan Brewer has agreed to just one of several proposed debates with her opponent state Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat.  Today the two gubernatorial candidates will square off on KAET-TV at the Arizona State University campus on multiple statewide issues including the hot-button topic of immigration reform – an issue most students have a strong opinion about — yet most ASU students we spoke with seemed disinterested in the general election. Christopher Simmons, 21, of Chandler, Ariz., said he would be surprised if ASU students tuned in to the gubernatorial debate. “To be completely honest, I don’t think ASU students will be too interested, I can’t speak on the whole population, but probably not,” said Simmons.
Even though Simmons said he hopes Arizona’s image improves in the wake of the state’s immigration law S.B. 1070, he admits he probably won’t be actively involved in the election process.
Erica Pederson, a senior majoring in political science and the president of ASU's Young Democrats, said the lack of enthusiasm among her fellow students doesn’t surprise her.
“I can understand why a lot of students aren’t tuned in to politics or even state-wide politics.  A lot of them are from out of state and they still feel connected to their home state,” said Pederson.
Simmons, a Cadet First Sergeant in the ASU ROTC program, recently attended a leadership development course in Ft. Lewis, Washington and admitted he was embarrassed to see how people there reacted to his home state. “I met kids from all over the country and that’s all they talked about. They think it's a racist state,” said Simmons. Tyler Bowyer, 24, president of College Republicans at ASU, says students who aren’t political science majors don’t understand the long-term effects of political apathy. “A lot of students will start realizing ‘I'm not going to be able to get a job after graduation … what is this economy all about?’ It's just a growing-up thing and I think students will grasp onto that, as we get closer to November,” Bowyer said. Dominic Miller, a senior majoring in social work from Paradise Valley, Ariz., said even though he is going to watch the debate, he did not participate in the primaries and is unsure if he will vote in the general election. Like Simmons, Miller is embarrassed at how much attention Arizona has received because of the immigration bill. “On the surface, the bill can be looked at as something that constitutes racial profiling, even though in the legislation that’s not part of it.  I think that is giving us a bad reputation,” said Miller. Gina Woodall, an ASU professor of politics and global studies, said the new generation of voters are fulfilling their civil duties by means other than the traditional ‘vote.’  “Instead of voting they will blog, they’ll do Facebook [status] updates, they’ll use other methods of participation … They still think it will matter and actually change the system in a better way,” said Woodall. Woodall says the number of disinterested ASU students reflects what she has seen in her classes. “Probably five percent of the class is vocal and they are usually educated on the opinions and they usually have an opinion and share it.  Most of the class doesn’t care, or at least aren’t vocal about it,” explained Woodall.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus