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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Poll Reveals Widespread Political Apathy

<rack Obama formally addressed the people last Tuesday, an event widely viewed and discussed across the nation, even among the normally apolitical. However, of a poll of 150 students and professors on the Carleton Campus, only 18 people saw part of the State of the Union. Why did most Carleton students decide to not watch? Was it an active decision?

Freshman Jacob Broida stated, with a guilty look in his eye, “that at a college as vigorous as Carleton, I do not have time to keep myself up to date with politics.”  A number of fellow Carls shared this view. Many claimed that midterms, homework, and other class work took precedent over following political events, falling, as they did, in the middle of fourth week. A large portion admitted that in a non-presidential election year, they are less inclined to stay up to date on both national and local political happenings.

In fact, many did not even know that the event was taking place. This general ignorance can partly be attributed to the general level of business that each Carleton student is faced with. However, it can’t account for 47 of the students not even realizing that the speech had taken place. 8 of those 47 asked what the State of Union was. Carleton prides itself on being an intelligent well-informed student body, and yet there are multiple students on campus who do not even know the name of a major presidential address.

Many of those who skipped the viewing, hadn’t even read anything about the speech online. “I read the headline of New York Times and then asked a friend to fill me in on a few of the details,” said freshman Ethan Ramsey. Many others said that reading a newspaper every morning can be too time consuming with classes and other campus events. Putting politics aside, of the 132 people that did not watch the State of the Union, 84 of those conceded that they do not read or watch a single news source on a daily basis. The “bubble” effect, along with schoolwork may prevent students from staying up to date on all world events, but they don’t even seem to be making an attempt.

This is not representative of the entire campus. The CarlDems hosted a viewing party in Olin, and many kept well-informed even if they did not have time to watch on this particular night. However, the question remains: Why are Carleton students not staying politically active? Are politics less important to the general public than other social issues, is there apathy developing toward our government, or are students just becoming more lazy in regards to their civic duties? It is an election year, and it seems that the Carleton population has not tuned in.

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