Tuesday, February 5, 2008

SUper Tuesday

Sen. Barack Obama’s appeal to the younger generation did not appear to be strong enough to beat out Sen. Hillary Clinton in the New York state primary, as she led the Illinois senator by 23 percent an hour after the polls closed Tuesday night, according to CNN.com.

SU Students for Barack Obama, a Syracuse University student group that tried to spread the senator’s message of change to undergrads, concluded their primary season campaign yesterday at 9 p.m., but their advertising was not a success with some students.

"I only saw one rally and didn't know they were groups on campus," said senior David Vassallo. “I'm more an anti-Hillary person and I knew more than the Obama supporters at the rally. It's only effective if they knew what they were talking about."

The Syracuse campus student chapter of the Obama for America campaign was directed by sophomore Marshall Spevak and held events such as the Jan. 31 rally on the quad and promotions at SU men’s basketball games.

Its Facebook group has 60 members, but only 10 students participated in more than one of the group’s events, said Spevak.

“We've been trying to be more visible—holding up signs and cheering,” he said. “I hope a lot of students vote, but I don't even want to speculate numbers. I wouldn’t even dare to guess.”

Despite working alongside the city of Syracuse’s Obama campaign, Spevak said the campus group targeted students and that students were very welcoming to their message.

“Obama really engaged the youth,” said the political science major, who is originally from Cherry Hill, N.J. and voted by absentee ballot for Obama. “I've talked to so many students across campus who are enthusiastic for voting.”

Junior Rita Aidoo, from Bronx, N.Y., did not know about Spevak’s group and decided to vote for Obama without influence from any campus groups.

“I'm only really interested in health care so I don't think anything would have changed that,” she said.

Freshman De'Marcus Woods said that campus groups could potentially swing students who did not have a specific interest in policy or a grasp on politics.

"I think people are stuck in between,” Woods said. “I don't think people really know and if groups can open their eyes and explain how a candidate can affect their lives, you never know.”

The Democratic primary race’s top candidates were whittled down to Obama and Clinton after Sen. John Edwards’ withdrew on Jan. 30. Clinton’s campaign focuses on health care reform, strengthening the middle class and ending the war on Iraq, whereas Obama champions a broader theme of change, according to their websites.

Spevak stayed at the Obama Headquarters, 3000 Erie Blvd. East, all day Tuesday, only leaving to campaign with signs at busy intersections during rush hour. No representatives from the student group were scheduled to visit the polling places in the SU area, he said.

Sandra Frio, of Syracuse, worked at one of the SU polling sites in Goldstein Student Center, 401 Skytop Road, until 9 last night. The poll opened at 11:30 a.m. Polling was also held at the Whitman School of Management, 721 University Ave.

She said she was surprised with the voter turnout within the first hour of operation.

"We're hoping a lot of students come,” said Frio, who has worked in the same ward through out all of her time staffing election sites. “I'm very hopeful to think that the young students are interested in their future."


yofred said...

i feel horrible that i couldnt get my request for an absentee ballot out on time. instead, i registered into a new york residence so when the november elections come, i wont have to go through the hassle of an absentee ballot or drive to massachusetts to cast a vote.

hi paige come friday k

~ashley said...

something interesting though - while obama clearly was not going to win the popular in Hills' "home" state, a big part of the strategy was keeping her share of the vote to less than 60%, which they did. if she had gotten more than 60% of the vote in ny then party rules would have stipulated that she receive "bonus delegates" and with delegate counts as close as they are, every one counts.