In Youth Vote, Turnout is Key

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Growing up in an abusive household in South Carolina, Harold “R.J.” Sloke spent days locked up like a prisoner in his room. Isolated, scared, and forced to miss school, he sought solace in the Bible and in a set of encyclopedias that he read over and over again. That early experience taught him to rely upon two things: Christian morals and independent study, two values he says he continues to hold dear as a young Republican voter.

Now a U.S. Army Reservist in the battleground state of Missouri, Sloke, 22, prides himself on doing his own research into political issues. He cares about cutting the national debt, reducing unemployment, supporting pro-life policies, and protecting defense spending. In 2008, he voted for John McCain but wasn’t too unhappy when the presidency went to Barack Obama. “I thought Obama was a good guy who would go by his word,” Sloke said. His vote this year will go to Mitt Romney.
Young voters lean left
By Sloke’s own admission, and according to the Pew Research Center, most of his peers don’t share his conservative views. Polls through mid-September have shown President Obama with a consistent lead among voters between the ages of 18 and 29, despite the disillusionment some young voters say they feel since they came out in droves to elect the country’s first black president.

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