Understanding the 2012 Election
Regina Lawrence speaks to U.S. Dept. of State's Foreign Press Center tour
Regina Lawrence, journalism professor and faculty fellow in the College of Communication's Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation, recently spoke to a group of about 35 foreign correspondents about the youth vote's role in the 2012 election.
The foreign correspondents visited The University of Texas at Austin as part of a tour hosted by the United States Department of State's Foreign Press Center. Other tour stops included Washington, D.C. and Houston.
The goal of the tour was to give participants the context they need to report on the U.S. electoral process, while introducing them to the role that young people play in U.S. politics. Countries represented included Argentina, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Jordan and Sudan.
"It was really remarkable to host such a diverse gathering – and to see how keenly interested the correspondents are in U.S. politics and civic life," Lawrence said. "Several participants told me afterward – as did the State Department representative – that they were enthusiastic to hear from U.S. academics, who can provide nonpartisan expertise."
Lawrence began her presentation by talking about how the Strauss Institute is responding to growing political cynicism and disaffection in the U.S. The Strauss Institute counters political apathy by engaging people in the political process, teaching them about the nation's democratic heritage and encouraging them to take leadership roles.
Lawrence mentioned how several polling organizations have named the economy as the defining issue of the 2012 presidential election.
Lawrence also presented the following political statistics:
- According to a Tufts University Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement study, 21 percent of young people are broadly engaged in politics, filling many different leadership roles; 11 percent give money but do little else; and 23 percent are civically alienated.
- Sixty-four percent of American voters under 30 say they support President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican nominee. (Gallup Poll, April 20-24, 2012)
- In a nationwide survey conducted by the Panetta Institute for Public Policy in 2012, 67 percent of college students gave Obama a positive job rating. But according to several recent polls, fewer than half of young people say they will probably vote in November.
- The Harvard University Institute of Politics recently found that Obama was leading Romney in approval among Hispanic youth, the largest, fastest-growing minority. However, Obama's approval had dropped among white youth.
With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York, the Foreign Press Center supports U.S. policies by helping foreign media cover the U.S. Their goal is to promote the depth, accuracy and balance of foreign reporting from the U.S., by providing direct access to authoritative American information sources.
To view the full presentation, visit http://vimeo.com/44244859.
Laura Byerley, (512) 471-2182