In an effort to entice college students to support his run for the presidency, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is paying students a 10 percent commission when they raise at least $1,000 for his campaign.
The program is a move to attract young voters, a demographic that has favored fellow presidential candidate John McCain on the Republican side and Sen. Barack Obama on the Democratic side.
While more than 400 college students from campuses across the country have raised money for Romney and received dividends in return, none were from the University of Michigan.
Amy Drumm, chair of the University's chapter of Students for Romney, said the program has caused more students to become involved with the Romney campaign, but that the group has only raised a few hundred dollars. Because it hasn't raised $1,000 yet, the University's chapter hasn't received any funds from the Romney campaign.
Drumm attributed the small amount of funds raised to lackluster student involvement.
She said student volunteers often go door to door or make phone calls to garner support for their candidate, but that they usually don't contribute financially to campaigns.
"You don't generally look at students and think, 'Oh they'll go out and raise a lot of money for me,' " Drumm said. "So I think that (Romney's plan) was kind of the push to get them more involved in the campaign."
Drumm said the lack of student fundraising on campus stems from the fact that many students are involved in other extracurricular activities besides political groups.
Rarely have presidential candidates offered fundraising incentives as explicit as Mitt Romney's, which some are calling a business-style approach to politics. Political Science Prof. Kenneth Kollman said the fundraising plan reflects Romney's background as the business-oriented politician.
"I think it just reflects the way he thinks about the world," Kollman said. "He's been a very successful businessman. It's maybe unusual. I don't think it's all that different than paying someone a salary on your staff whose job it is to raise money for you. It's just so overtly along the lines you would use if you were trying to sell shoes at Macy's."
Some representatives from other campus student groups think Romney's fundraising strategy won't translate into supporting among young people.
"I think it's innovative, yes," LSA senior Kelly Bernero, chair of the University's chapter of Students for Hillary, said. "However my criticism of the program is that he has not energized voters by his rhetoric or his policies. He's energizing them by handing out money," Bernero said.
Most National polls show McCain as the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, with Romney in second place.
LSA senior Allison Schneider, chair of Students for McCain, could not be reached for comment Monday.
Both McCain and Romney will be campaigning throughout the day -- known as Super Tuesday -- as 21 states vote in Republican primary elections.
If McCain is largely successful Tuesday, he could secure the Republican Party's nomination. He delivered a blow to Romney last week, winning the Florida primary.
© 2008 Michigan Daily via U-WIRE