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For Some Young Voters, GOP Race Slow to Heat Up

The Republican primary may have engulfed the national political conversation, but as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, some young voters have only just begun to tune in.

Rick Perry and the other GOP candidates on stage before ABC News debate in Manchester New Hampshire 01/07/12.

There are people who have watched all the debates, read just about every article and watched the videos released by presidential hopefuls. But a quick survey of University of Texas students on campus found that some have paid little attention to the Republican campaign so far.

For some, like junior Sara Hansard, keeping up with the campaign takes time away from college.

Audio: Ben Philpott's story for KUT News

“I spent a lot of time with my grandmother over the breaks,” Hansard said. “So I watched a lot of Jeopardy and a lot of news.”

Once Hansard tuned in, she found things that caught her attention and, in the case of recent negative attacks among the candidates, things that turned her off.

“I also paid a lot of attention to Newt's campaign against Mitt Romney because I'm an advertising major," she said. "That’s something I didn't like, is that he really went with an aggressive, kind of mean campaign. I didn't like that. I thought it was tasteless.”

Graduate student Brian Schwarz took offense to campaign themes pushed by various Republican candidates.

“I'm an independent, so I tend to lean more towards the middle,” Schwarz said. “People like Rick Perry, the real sort of ‘champions of life,’ tend to turn me off.”

November will be freshman John Teltschik’s first time voting in a presidential election.

“[I] just want to get it right,” he said.

What does “getting it right” mean? Is it watching as many debates as possible? Is it painstakingly researching every statement and promise made by the candidates?

“Kind of based on what my dad says, because he's the guru,” Teltschik said.

For all but the hardcore party activists, this is just the beginning of the campaign season. There’s still a lot of time to bone up along the way — too much time, according to Hansard.

“I'm ready for it to be over. I'm ready for it to be decided. I'm ready for the election,” Hansard said. “November needs to hurry up.”

This spring's Texas primary and party conventions in the summer may provide an entry point for those still on the sidelines — and an irritant for those wishing it would all just go away.

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Politics 2012 elections Griffin Perry