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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop at Temple University in Philadelphia, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hillary Clinton is heading back to college


Hillary Clinton is heading back to college

WATCH  | Hillary Clinton spends a lot of time wooing votes on college campuses.

With the amount of time the Clinton campaign is spending on college campuses, you'd think the Democratic presidential nominee needs class credits or is rushing a sorority. 

Nope. She's just trying to win your vote.

In the last two weeks alone, Hillary Clinton and her surrogates, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and First Lady Michelle Obama, have held events on college campuses from Ohio to Nevada.

Clinton has even made an interactive website explaining her student debt plan.

Clinton's lead is razor-thin

The race for the White House has gotten closer in September. What was once a 7.6 percent lead in early August has dwindled to a 1.1 percent lead by mid-September, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average.

In order for Clinton win in November, she needs to convince young voters not just to turn out to vote, but to vote for her as well.

A recent Fox News poll found that Clinton only gets 37 percent of voters under 35.

'Massive amount of disappointment'

Compare that to the  60 percent of young voters who cast ballots for Obama in 2012, helping him secure re-election, and you can see why she needs to focus on young voters.

"What's unusual perhaps is sort of the massive amount of disappointment we are seeing from a certain segment of the young voters," said Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts.

"Hillary Clinton really needs to convince them that they should come out to vote."

As long as young people don't think they can trust her, I think that will continue to be a barrier.
Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg

And for Clinton, this isn't theoretical -- some young voters say they have doubts about her character.

"I think she is having a hard time with connecting with the young people," George Mason University junior Shadman Hossain told Circa.

Dissatisfaction with both parties

Voters under 35 don't like either candidate. According to a Quinnipiac poll,  68 percent view Trump unfavorably, and Clinton is at 58 percent.

The dissatisfaction with both candidates has allowed third-party candidates to gain a surprising foothold.

"That's a message that young people and other Americans are sending to the general public. They really want to see someone else. They don't really like these candidates," Kawashima-Ginsberg said.

Trump hard to find on campus

The Quinnipiac poll finds that 44 percent of young voters will vote for a third-party candidate like Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

"There's a decent-size Gary Johnson representation on campus," George Mason sophomore Andrew Millin told Circa.

But while Clinton is making a strong play on college campuses and Gary Johnson is picking up support from millennials, Trump and his surrogates are hard to find on college campuses, Kawashima-Ginsberg noted.

Gary Johnson touts his numbers among millennials.

Young voters need to be engaged

At the George Mason University campus in Northern Virginia, Trump's campaign has not been making large inroads.

"Everyone that I've talked to on campus does not support Trump," freshman Lauren Henry told Circa.

This could be problematic for Trump -- unlike older voters, young voters, especially first-time voters, need to be engaged by campaigns and candidates. "They need to be talked to, or be asked to participate," Kawashima-Ginsberg said.


Americans are more than a month from election day, so a lot can change. Young voters could get on board with Clinton. But to ensure that happens, Clinton needs to continue to be a presence on college campuses.

'So much that can be done'

"I think there is so much that can be done to boost the turnout between now and November 8," Kawashima-Ginsberg told Circa.

"Young people are known to make decisions more and more last-minute compared to older voters. The investment in outreaching to young people and really making sure for example young people really get what Hillary Clinton is saying to young people in terms of policy can potential can really regain their trust. Same thing for Donald Trump."

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