Students at two Philadelphia universities say current frontrunner Mitt Romney doesn't turn them on.

"He doesn't bring enough enthusiasm to the base," said Michael Wade, a Drexel University sophomore marketing major who heads the school's College Republicans.

Ann Marie Hager, a Drexel freshman majoring in political science, said many students are turned off by the system in general. "It concerns me," said Hager. "I definitely see the apathy."

Across town, the College Republicans leader at Temple University is ambivalent about the GOP candidates.

"I think everyone can agree that we like and we dislike certain things about each one of them," said Erik Jacobs, a junior political-science major. "That's what makes this so difficult to choose."

Another Temple student and College Republicans member said he was unmoved by Romney.

"I think he seems overly polished," said Joseph Oleksak, a sophomore political-science major. " . . . He sat there the night before and read through his speech again and again and again in front of the mirror, woke up the next day and did it again, put on his suit, made sure everything was straight. He's not genuine."

Darin Bartholomew, vice president of the Temple GOP group, considers himself a moderate but doesn't care for Romney.

"He makes it look like we don't know what we think, rather than have beliefs that are just in the middle," said Bartholomew, a junior majoring in management-information systems.

At a meeting of the Temple group last week, several students said they greatly preferred former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, saying his conservative views seemed more closely aligned with the GOP's platform.

"I see him staying true to his values throughout the race, even if it costs him a few votes," said Emily Rosenberg, a freshman strategic-communication major.

Many of the 20 students at the meeting said that the GOP has strayed from its core convictions.

"If the Republican Party returns to conservative principles and cuts spending, they will gain appeal to voters in my generation," said Eric Cedor, the group's secretary and a sophomore economics major.

Contact Haley Kmetz at 610-675-5706, or