Economy, health care matter most to students

U students’ priorities this election align with young voters nationwide.

Economy, health care matter most to students

Bryna Godar

As students prepare to elect a national leader this November — many voting for the first time — the economy and health care are determining their decisions.

In an informal survey of 100 University of Minnesota students, they spoke mostly about issues that resonate personally: job prospects; education and loans; health care; and social issues like gay marriage, birth control and abortion.

The majority of students aligned with President Barack Obama, mirroring youth polls nationwide, but students who listed the economy as a top priority were split more tightly between the president and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

Four years ago, the economy overwhelmingly dominated as the most important national issue for the 18-24 age range, according to a survey by the Harvard Institute of Politics. The war in Iraq and health care were second and third.

Now, the economy still dominates responses; health care and education occupy second and third places.

Some students said Obama needs more time to improve the economy while others called for change of administration.

“They both have ideas, but the economy has kind of been downhill,” said elementary education senior Whitney Frick. “I think we kind of need a change.”

In the recent Harvard survey, youth didn’t list social issues as a major national concern.

Some University students surveyed couldn’t identify a top issue or were uncertain who to vote for. Nine weren’t planning to vote at all.