Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Presidential Candidate Ron Paul Garners Younger Voters' Support

With the Iowa Caucuses taking place tonight to kick-off the Republican presidential nomination fight, TIME Magazine has an article on how one of the candidates, Ron Paul, seems to be doing well with younger voters. As much (or more) a Libertarian as a Republican, Paul conveys his views with statements such as the following one quoted in the TIME article:

“What you want to do with your life, what your religious beliefs are, what your intellectual pursuits are, what your private habits are — that’s part of freedom.”

This one brief quote is amazingly rich in Emerging Adulthood themes. As Jeffrey Arnett details here, three aspects of EA are identity exploration, possibilities, and self-focus.  Religious beliefs, intellectual pursuits, etc., are of course part of identity exploration and development. What one wants to do with one's life suggests (to me at least) the idea of open possibilities -- if one wants to pursue advanced education, travel, work in a certain profession, start a family, etc., one potentially can do so. And ultimately, as Paul implies, all these decisions are up to the individual, similar to Arnett's notion of self-focus.

LATE-NIGHT UPDATE:  Paul indeed dominated the Republican voting among younger participants, according to a poll of randomly selected caucus attendees.  Paul took an estimated 48% of the 17-29 year-old vote, with the next highest percentage from that age group (23%) going to Rick Santorum. When the poll results were broken out further into 17-24 and 25-29 year-old subgroups, Paul did comparably well in each, garnering 50% and 45% of the vote, respectively. (As an aside, it initially seemed odd to me that 17-year-olds were listed in the results; I looked into the matter and, as I suspected, 17-year-olds can participate as long as they will be 18 by the November general election.)

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