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Election Could Be Historic, Says N.C. State Professor

This story was written by Derek Medlin, Technician

After campaigning for months, spending millions of dollars and doing everything they can to influence American voters, Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama can do nothing more now but wait.

They must wait -- just one more day -- to see who will lead this country for the next four or even eight years.

Students have a unique opportunity today to impact an election more than ever before by going to the polls and voting. Some political analysts have even said the youth vote could be key in deciding who will occupy the White House come January.

Steven Greene, a North Carolina State University associate professor in political science, said today's election could be historic based on several factors.

"There is an overwhelming desire for a new direction in our country," he said.

Greene said the desire for change from the current administration is so strong among the majority of American voters that party affiliation doesn't necessarily matter as much.

"Also, let's not ignore that we have a black man running for president and a woman running for potential vice president," he said. "In many ways this is an historic election."

Greene said the youth vote could also be very important in today's outcome.

"The youth will determine the size of Obama's margin of victory rather than whether he wins or not," he said. "Obama has done wonders with the youth vote and it's really helped him out."

Brad Trahan, a sophomore in communication and volunteer for Students for McCrory, said today's election is important for many reasons other than race or gender.

"This election isn't about gender or ethnicity," he said. "It's a huge election for our future. As college students, we need to be aware of the impact today will have. I hope and pray college students go out and have their voice heard."

Alysha Sheets, a junior in political science and intern for the Kay Hagan campaign, said she has seen increased interest from young and old voters alike during the campaign process.

"With all the swing states this year and how close some of the races are, people are more excited," she said. "People believe their votes really do matter more."

Craig Smith, a communication professor, said this year's election is important for many reasons, including an attempt by both candidates to regain the trust of the world.

"Much of the world no longer trusts us," he said. "Internally and externally, there are all kinds of things hanging in the balance. There is a great deal involved."

Sheets said she believes young voters are more interested in this election and more polarized because of how different the administrations of George Bush and Bill Clinton were.

"Those of us who are college age or just above spent our teen years under the Bush administration," she said. "We remember Clinton and Bush

and those were two radically different presidential administrations. And now, however people are leaning politically, they are passionate about which way they want the election to go."

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