When President Obama was first elected in 2008, students rushed the academic quad staging an impromptu victory rally. Four years later, Obama earned a still-historic second term, but the quad remained mostly quiet.
In 2008, Ithaca College President Tom Rochon led students in a “Parade to the Polls” march, while members of the Fife and Drum Corps dressed in green coats and triangle hats and played “Yankee Doodle.” Later that night, The Ithacanreported nearly 1,000 students at the victory rally — many still in their pajamas.
Since the 2008 presidential election, IC Republicans have earned national recognition and IC Democrats was founded. The organizations have successfully brought important debates, campaign events and overall attention to political issues to campus. Though more 18- to 29-year-old voters cast a ballot in this election than in 2008, and the majority favored Obama, according to the early National Exit Poll conducted by Edison Research, the 2012 campaign season failed to inspire students the way the 2008 race electrified the campus.
The lack of on-campus celebration on election night this year is discouraging considering the widespread youth support of Obama and memorable 2008 campus response. However, youth turnout showed that the youth vote can remain strong even in elections that fail to fully excite young voters.