Vice President Al Gore must wish the United States bore a much stronger resemblance to Emory today, according to one professor's prediction.
If Emory students constituted the entirety of the electorate, the Democratic candidate for president of the United States would be guaranteed an overwhelming victory at the polls today, according to Alan Abramowitz, the Alben W. Barkeley professor of political science.
According to Abramowitz, most Emory students who vote will pick Gore over Texas Gov. George W. Bush based upon their social background and character that differs sharply from the nation at large.
First, Abramowitz said Emory has a large number of Jewish students, over a third, he said, which he predicts will favor Gore.
"Emory's Jewish students tend to vote along Democratic lines and come from families that have liberal values," he said. "Their parents tend to be Democratic, though not overwhelmingly."
Abramowitz cautioned that he based his predictions of Emory voter behavior on casual polling of his students, and while a good indicator of how Emory students would generally vote, should not be taken as gospel.
That Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), the first Jew to be part of a major presidential ticket, is Gore's running mate could also rouse Jewish support, Abramowitz said.
Abramowitz also said that Emory students tend to believe in liberal values in the general sense, regardless of ethnicity.
He said he does not possess the resources to make a determination about how college students will vote nationwide, but did say rather decisively that they will vote less than older Americans.
Why voters aged 18-24 do not vote in tandem with the general electorate can be explained two ways, he said. First, they are less settled in their lives. "Either they are in school or just starting families or jobs" and don't have much interest in voting, he said.
Second, younger voters do not tend to be loyal to a particular party. In turn, they do not feel compelled to vote.
He added that young people might not feel that the issues in the campaign apply to their own lives.
Abramowitz confirmed important issues in this election — like how to fund social security — may not be the top priority of young voters.
He did say he thought that many college students care about the environment, choice and abortion and women's and gay rights.
Abramowitz said college students are less likely to vote in the 2000 election because of the perceived chore of requesting an absentee ballot.
Still, he pointed to a higher turnout of college students than their counterparts in the 18-24 age group at the polls.
According to Abramowitz, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader can expect significant support from college students today, more so from this group than any other.
Despite his predictions for Emory students, Abramowitz said that Bush could likely be elected the next president by tonight, when the last toll of electoral votes ticker in, a conclusion that would not be outlandish given the polls.