COLUMBUS, Ohio — With less than eight hours to go before voters in 10 states hit the polls, as of late Monday night, there was not that much Super Tuesday.
I am in Ohio for a primary that the young people I’ve run into so far apparently don’t care that much about. We won’t know until later today if the four remaining Republican candidates— Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul — will be able to rouse the 18-29 voting bloc, but recent results aren’t that promising. In last week’s Arizona Primary, 6 percent of eligible voters under 30 turned out to vote, and in Michigan, it was hardly better at 7 percent. Not too hot.
But those are just stats. When you hit the ground, you get past the numbers and start talking to some of the folks who might help the candidates roll up those 419 delegates at stake on the biggest voting day of the year so far.
On the plane ride here Monday night, I met soon-to-be-dentist David Neumann, 23. We talked dental school, how he got into better colleges than I did and of course, the biggest topic in Ohio: the Republican primary.
“I didn’t even know it was tomorrow,” said Neumann. “I am involved. I follow what’s going on. I just don’t feel interested in that right now.” But when I bring up Heat star LeBron James, who left David’s hometown of Cleveland for Miami, his face lights up with fury. You can tell he’s pissed. But the Primary?
“Feels like a lot of empty words,” he told me when describing the entire election and the seemingly never-ending GOP battle to come up with a candidate to take on President Obama in the fall.
While waiting for my bags, I met Shadi Yaabdi, who is now old enough to vote in the upcoming election.
“Super what?” she asked when I inquired whether she was planning on voting today. “Yeah, I don’t care for that.”
Before I even left the airport, I wondered if I have a serious problem ahead of me today. Am I covering a story that hardly anyone my age cares about? And am I doing that from the state that may have the best chance at finally deciding the 2012 Republican nomination race?
Or will I find that there are way more students on the Ohio State University campus who are fired up and ready to go, excited to flex their power at the ballot box and finally help push one of these candidates into the spotlight?
I’m hoping it’s the latter.
MTV has Super Tuesday covered, with reporters on the scene in Georgia, Ohio and Massachusetts! Check back for up-to-the-minute coverage on all the primaries, and stick with Powerof12.org throughout the presidential election season.