Presidential debates important, not enough to sway some students

Written by: Victoria Barrientos

Many students looked to presidential debates to cast an informed vote in the first election in which they were eligible to vote. Whether the debates actually swayed their opinions is another issue.

In an informal, anonymous survey of 50 students in the Student Union, 64 percent had watched the debates. Of that 64 percent, only 52 percent said that the debates had helped to sway their opinions.

“The debates offer an opportunity for people to see how their candidate reacts under pressure,” said senior biology major Travis Thompson.

According to the The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), there are 46 million eligible voters in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 29, versus the 39 million senior citizens who were eligible to vote in this election.

While most people go into election season with an inclination toward either Republicans or Democrats, some voters looked to the debates as a way of ensuring that their candidate is the right choice for them.

Some students said that the politicians were rude to each other and slippery on their stances. Debates allow students to see how their candidates react to difficult situations, and they can reveal candidates’ underlying characteristics.

Between the debates and the constant bombardment of political ads during this election, students all over the country watched as both candidates vied for the presidency. The youth makes up 21 percent of the eligible voters, according to CIRCLE, giving college students the ability to help the candidate of their choice.

This was an election where every vote counted, as proven by how close the votes were in states like Florida. By voting, individuals were given the chance to help shape
the country.