ATLANTA — "How many of y'all know it's Super Tuesday?"
Several hands go up — but not all.
"I just told you!"
That's how I opened up the first-ever informal MTV News Power of 12 Super Tuesday Gut Check at Georgia State University on Tuesday (March 6). In other words, I crashed a Principles of Marketing class and held them hostage until they answered my questions.
General Classroom 200 is one of those classic stadium-style lecture halls that gives you intense college FOMO, and I was stoked to find it pretty full, even though Professor Johnson had warned me that he doesn't take attendance. (Looks like someone tipped the class off that we might show up — you're welcome, Teach!)
So what were our highly unscientific finds? Overall, a super small percentage of the class had voted or planned to vote Tuesday in Georgia, where early projections after the polls closed had Newt Gingrich taking the lion's share of the day's biggest prize of 76 delegates. The majority of students identified themselves as Democrats, so that might account for their apathy — and, as 21-year-old Catherine Young put it, "It's just not that exciting." Sounds like we got a Meh Romney on our hands.
In all seriousness, it was totally cool to get some real talk from this crew, and we've compiled some of the most interesting responses below. Check out the accompanying video for the full sensory experience.
When I ask for their fave Republican candidates, clarity ensues.
Newt! Ron Paul! Mitt! Santorum!
Ali Badruddin, 22, stands for libertarian Ron Paul and tells us why slow, steady and staunchly constitutional wins the race. (Sorry, Aesop — that moral might not work in politics): "Ron Paul has the same consistent things he's been doing for like 30 years; he's not one of those politicians that just comes and goes every four or five years. Some believe his ideals are kinda radical, but in actuality, they are more in line with what our founding fathers had in mind than these other Republicans candidates like Mitt and [Rick] Santorum."
One student defends Romney's flip-flopping — and he's a non-Republican to boot! "A lot of people say Romney changes his beliefs, ideals and stands in a lot of political debates, and I feel like as a candidate that you have to be willing to accept that you're wrong at times on the key issues that affect a lot of people other than yourself," he shared.
Another brave student delivers a Newt rant that even the fiery debate king would admire. Also, he introduces the groundbreaking theory of "economically dumb": "He's the one I dislike, although what I'm about to say I believe applies to them all, because he is the epitome of what I like to call a career politician: He's not in it to be a public servant. His goal is to advance and get a better position. He's in it for himself with us as his tools. He uses economics in his arguments a lot, and me being an economic student, his arguments, even though they are economically based, are economically dumb."
The simple truth from 19-year-old Michael Logan about why he didn't vote. But wait — maybe there's more. "I just forgot, and I didn't register." (I pester him.) "Politics is not the highest priority in my life. I don't even think it affects me that much, to be honest."
A gentleman to his left says, "College scholarship?" Logan admits, "That is true."
Elana Benn, 21, lays out what makes her tick and why the Republican candidates need to step off: "I can honestly just say 'women's rights.' There's a lot of abortion issues and birth-control issues that shouldn't even be an issue; there shouldn't be a question. When it comes to the Republican primary, that's one of the main issues that's been on the news lately, about three months now, and it's embarrassing. That's what I'm really passionate and empowered about."
Two words from 21-year-old Samuel Skov carry a lot of power. Just ask James Carville. Especially if you don't wanna be living off ramen noodles. "The economy!" A guy in his row elaborates, "I want a job!"
When I ask why people voted today, adorable 21-year-olds Catherine Young and Megan Jessee get cheesy about democracy (don't hate): "Because every vote counts!"
That pretty much says it all. Shout-out to Professor Wesley Johnson and his entire 2:30 p.m. class for giving up precious PowerPoint time for our poll!
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 Power of 12 throughout the presidential election season.