IUP Student Apathy Diminished for Midterm Elections

IUP voter turnout close to national figures

By Derek D. Buck

An informal Election Day survey conducted at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania suggests that the turnout of IUP student voters for the Nov. 7 elections nearly matched the national average.

Only hours before the polls closed, 70 IUP students of voting age were asked whether they had voted in that day’s midterm congressional elections.

Sixteen students, or 23 percent, said that they had.

The remaining 54 students, or 77 percent, said they had no intention of voting.

According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, a nonprofit youth-vote research group based at the University of Maryland, an estimated 10 million young people ages 18 to 30 voted Nov. 7, or 24 percent of the age group.

Some of the IUP students who were surveyed said they were unaware that it was Election Day.  One student said he would have “voted for Bush” had he known about the elections.

Another student said that she would vote before the polls closed, but that she only votes for the “best-looking candidates.”

According to CIRCLE, the record year for youth turnout in a midterm election was 1982, when 32 percent of young people voted.

IUP students’ reported voting participation in last month’s midterm congressional elections marked a dramatic increase when compared to their participation in recent student-government elections on campus. In April, fewer than 1 percent of IUP students cast ballots in SGA elections, according to IUP officials.

But the Nov. 7 turnout fell short of IUP students’ participation in voting for this fall’s Homecoming court. For that election, 27 percent of students reportedly cast ballots.

Voter Turnout Midterm Years Among Citizens, by Age

Voter Turnout Midterm Years Among Citizens, by Age


Sidebar: For more information

For more information on youth voting trends, contact the following:

Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, who promotes research on the civic and political engagement of Americans between the ages of 15 and 25.


Youth Vote Coalition, a national nonpartisan coalition of diverse organizations dedicated to increasing political and civic participation among young people.


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