Students share funding, stances with Democrats

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The Democrats are greatly outpacing Republicans in contributions from college students this election cycle, according to a recent report from a government watchdog group.

The Democratic National Committee has raised $428,600 — more than 20 times their Republican counterpart, the Republican National Committee, which only raised $18,400.

The Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, D.C.-based research group, made the list by analyzing Federal Election Commission filings in which the donor listed their occupation as student.

“This is distinct to this particular time,” said Daron Shaw, an associate government professor. “To be quite honest, college students don’t usually keep up with politics. They tend [to] respond to the loudest and most prevailing political wind.”

Shaw said it is up in the air as to whether this trend will remain in years to come.

“Recruiting and voting for college students is very difficult,” he said. “It’s not sure they’ll vote, and if they do, it’s not sure how they’ll vote. Having appealing top-level party members — such as Obama and, to a lesser extent, Hillary Clinton — have helped the Democrats.”

Young voters’ current liberal stances on social and religious issues are not going to help Republican candidates in upcoming elections, Shaw said.

“The upcoming generation will be very influenced to how successful Obama’s economic policies are,” he said. “Republicans might have to wait for a political environmental change to occur. Students these days tend to be more socially progressive and less traditionally religious.”

Many of the largest donors in the report are related to other large political donors. Alexander Soros, who held the top spot on the list, has donated $73,800 for Democrats this election cycle. He is the son of billionaire George Soros, who has been one of the Democrats’ largest contributors.

Cameron Miculka, spokesman for the University Democrats, said the Democrats’ stance on education plays a large part in the contributions from students.

“Democrats are looking to reform education and make college more affordable for everyone,” Miculka said. “These are the things students look at, and it adds excitement for the party.”

The overwhelming monetary support for the Democrats is mitigated by a roster included in the report of candidates students would be likely to support. This list included both Republicans and independents, which suggested that unlike their peers, Republican-leaning students are more likely to contribute to individual campaigns rather than to national party committees.

“Students’ partisanship is not a foregone conclusion,” said Natalie Stroud, assistant communication professor. “At schools like the University of Texas, there is quite a bit of diversity in terms of where students align politically.”