On UNCW's campus politics seems to be the topic du jour. "I think this year more than ever I hear a lot more debate between people, me and friends, (and) in class," said junior Miles Hensley, President of the UNCW Democrats. That's a turnaround compared to four years ago, when less than half of 18-24 year olds nationwide showed up at the polls. Hensley says that will change this year. "The people I've talked to are excited about the opportunity to vote," he said. "Even though it's a couple months away, I feel like those people will still show up to the polls." Hensley says he's registered more than 100 of his peers in the past month. Earlier this week, a spokesman for the state board of elections told a Raleigh newspaper that young voters in North Carolina are registering faster than ever. "They all have high school classmates or even college classmates that are deployed," said Roger Lowery, UNCW Professor of Public and International Affairs. "I think that that has sparked a renewed interest that we haven't really seen since the Vietnam War." Candidates have also become internet savvy, which Hensley says is the best way to connect with young voters. "Young people don't watch tv that much," Hensley said. "They're online with Facebook and MySpace, connecting to friends so when politicians reach out that way it shows they're actively interested in getting their vote." Lowery says the three front-runners all appeal to younger voters. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama could make history as either the first woman or first African-American president, if elected. John McCain is seen as a maverick and military hero, which Lowery says has a lot of cache for young conservatives.
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