MIAMI (CBSMiami) — With less than three months before the Iowa caucuses, you don’t have to look far to see signs of campaign season all over Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Student John Altendorf, who has decorated his frat room with political souvenirs, estimates 14 presidential hopefuls have visited the campus so far.
“We get to shake hands with all of these candidates, and one of them could be possibly be president one day,” said Altendorf. “Whether you’re on the left or the right it’s still a really cool experience as a student.”
As part of the Iowa Caucus Project, Altendorf and his fraternity brother, Tanner Halleran, are documenting 2020s first presidential nominating contest.
They were among seven students who spoke to CBS News about the candidates they are following and the issues they care about.
Student Emilyn Crabbe supports South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. She lists unity and education as her top issues.
Education is also a top issue for Jackie Sayers who supports California Senator Kamala Harris.
Darby Holroyd also supports Harris. She lists reproductive rights and gun legislation as her top issues. “I’ve never lived in a world without mass shootings,” said Holroyd.
For Sigournie Brock, healthcare and climate rank as most important. She’s leaning towards former Vice President Joe Biden, but is not completely decided.
Neither is Tanner Halleran who is leaning towards Mayor Buttigieg and is worried about the rural economy.
John Altendorf, a Republican, supports President Trump and considers agricultural policy his top issue.
Ireland Larsen, a volunteer for New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s campaign, is most worried about criminal justice reform.
According to a 2019 study by Pew Research, Generation Z and Millennials make up around 37% of the electorate. While youth turnout saw a significant boost in the 2018 midterms, the question remains whether they’ll show up next year.
“I think there’s a lot of passion,” said Crabbe. “I think a lot of people feel like we’re at a crossroads we’ve never been at before.”
“I know people our age-many of us weren’t able to vote that time,” said Holroyd, referencing 2016. “That’s an energizing factor in the event they weren’t pleased with the result in 2016.”
Altendorf, who is also president of the Drake College Republicans, said he believes youth enthusiasm will hinge on who Democrats nominate.
Despite differing political views and candidate preferences, the Drake students are united in their enthusiasm with the primary cycle.
“I think it’s a good thing we have so many candidates running right now, because a lot of students, they have more candidates to identify with,” said Sayers.