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Dickinson students closely following caucus results

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Iowans gathered on Monday, February 1, 2016 to caucus in the opening votes for the 2016 presidential race.

CARLISLE, Pa. – Political scientists at Dickinson College say they have been seeing it for months: an unusually strong interest in this election from students.

“You’ve got two competitive contests,” assistant professor of political science David O’Connell said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty tonight about whether who’s the victor on the Republican side, who’s the victor going to be on the Democratic side and I think that’s reflected in the student interest.”

Many pundits question what will happen with the youth vote in this campaign, whether it will play a big role like it did for President Obama or get cast aside.

Judging by the hundred or so students in attendance at a caucus watch event Monday at Dickinson College, young people definitely have an interest.

Some students say it’s the big names that are in the race that are driving that interest.

“Voting is now becoming something more exciting you know becoming something more that I can relate to in a sense,” Dickinson freshman Teryon Lowery said. “And it makes me want to learn more about these candidates like why do these people say this about Donald Trump, why do these people say this about Bernie Sanders, you know?”

“We’re not going anywhere so the more politically active we are now the more politically active we are going to be in the future when we inherit the country, so I think looking at voter turnout only says good things,” Dickinson senior Ryan Protter said.

Political scientists say the candidates that ignore young voters may do so at their own peril.

“Young voters if they’re going to have an impact, they have got to start by showing up to the polls and becoming engaged, but the candidates don’t typically try to mobilize these voters,” O’Connell said. “I think this room shows that’s a missed opportunity. There’s interest if people make an effort.”