Economy Weighs Heavily on North Carolina Students’ Minds

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Eight-four percent of young North Carolinians say that the poor economy puts key life decisions in jeopardy, according to astatewide survey of 500 North Carolina residents aged 18 to 29.

Despite most Tar Heel youth indicating that they planned to vote (76 percent according to the same survey), fewer than 30 percent believe that Washington’s policies help them.

Throughout the election season, I continue to speak with students within the North Carolina colleges to hear how they feel about our two candidates and their rhetoric. The collective message I received was that they’re despondent. Even during this season’s presidential debates, few college students in North Carolina I spoke with seemed to believe that their best interests were being considered.

Four years ago, the North Carolina college vote went to President Barack Obama. His progressive rhetoric had many young people voting under the assumption that his policies would restore the nation’s economy and bring about the liberal social climate that young people have been fighting for.

But now that President Obama is up for re-election, students do not seem as confident — in either candidate.

I talked to three concerned college students at three of the state’s largest universities to hear what they felt were the most important issues to them this election season. These students will be voting for the first time in their lives, and they are making sure their vote counts. Here is what they had to say when I asked them what topics matter most to them this election season:

“The recovery of the economy is a huge issue for me as a college student. When I graduate in a couple of years, I want there to be a job for me in order to fund living in the real world. Also, improvements in environmental and food laws are a huge issue for me. In a candidate, I would like to see someone who is firm in their decision-making and honest– or at least as honest as a politician can be.”

— Michael Balot, UNC-Chapel Hill, environmental studies and city planning

“First and foremost is the economy. Everyone seemed to [have] prioritized this before the election season really got heated on other distracting issues. But first, you have to reign in all this insane spending, and free up the economy by cutting back taxes. We need to limit defense spending to doing what it takes to defend the country, not throwing money into fueling the military-industrial complex with interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. A second issue is foreign policy. Our country is in enough crises at home without us trying to afford fighting wars overseas. Neither of our candidates seem like they are interested in bringing our troops home, and our current administration is talking about extending the 2014 deadline they had campaigned on earlier on bringing our troops out of Iraq. We’re spending money, killing our boys, and making new enemies every day, when our country is [has] a trillion-dollar deficit.

— Michelle Nguyen, Duke University, public policy


“There are many significant issues at stake in this election. One of the most important to me, and I’m sure to many others as well, is the state of the economy. One of my concerns is being able to find a career after graduation. The outcome of the election is key to the continued improvement of the economy and the job market. The availability of financial aid is also of concern to me. My education is an important part my life, and I stand with the candidate who is doing the most to support it.”

— Athina Hinson, UNC-Charlotte, anthropology


This article was originally published on Yahoo! News through the Yahoo Contributor Network which was shut down in July 2014. For more content by this author that was originally published on Yahoo! News, click here