"I can't walk down the quad without someone trying to talk to me about Obama or give me a flier. . . . They want me to drink the Democratic Kool-Aid," said the 19-year-old freshman who probably will vote for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
In any other election, Murphy's claim could be dismissed as a youthful exaggeration or an interesting, but ultimately insignificant, factoid. After all, did the youth vote help catapult Sen. John Kerry into the White House in 2004?
But this year may be different. Hillary Rodham Clinton and especially Barack Obama have captured the imaginations of young voters who recognize their unique chance to put a woman or African American into the White House and are expected to come to the polls today in record numbers.
The youth vote already has played a key role in earlier primaries. In South Carolina, 18- to 29-year-olds accounted for 14% of voters, up from 9% in 2004. And in Iowa, young voter turnout rose 135% from the previous presidential primary.
Obama won both states.
"Two years ago, I never would've thought this was possible. It's absolutely ridiculous to really be a part of history," said Lauren Olson, an 18-year-old Oakwood School senior who volunteers twice a week for the Obama campaign.
Oreo cookies outnumbered Republicans at a GOP debate-watching party last week at UCLA. University organizers bought two packs of the treats, a grand total of 102 cookies, but just 13 people showed up.
Only 225 students voted for a Republican candidate during a mock campus election in which John McCain and Ron Paul tied for first with 66 votes apiece. On the Democratic side, Obama was the overwhelming choice, with 54% of the 1,387 votes.
Brandon Dietz ate some cookies and listened as the candidates discussed immigration. The fourth-year student had considered voting for Rudolph W. Giuliani.
"Now he's outtie, so it's important I hear both sides," he said.
Dietz acknowledged that he was in the minority.
"No amount of food will get people out for this," he said.
And most students at the party quickly pointed out that they're not that Republican.
"I'm not a Bush fan," said Katya Balan, a third-year global studies major from Danville, Calif. Balan plans to vote for McCain because "the fact that he's criticized the Republican Party means a lot to me. It shows he's not afraid to lead the party back to where it should be," she said.
On other, more politically balanced campuses, Republican students say they sometimes feel isolated amid the Obama frenzy.
"There are times that you feel overwhelmed by all the excitement," said Rachel Ward, a Chapman University senior who volunteered for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's reelection campaign.
And even Ward doesn't have it easy. She is volunteering for Assemblyman Jim Silva (R-Huntington Beach), and when she told a reporter she plans to vote for Romney, her pro-McCain colleagues booed.
"I believe in a limited government . . . and he's a more conservative candidate," Ward said.