Election day is eight months away and the issues most important to voters are coming into play in a way that can make or break a candidate running for president.
Far beyond their race or gender, many voters are examining the issues and platforms of the possible presidential candidates.
Following Tuesday’s primaries, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continue to compete for the Democratic candidacy, while John McCain has locked things up on the Republican side.
“I definitely think global politics is important,” graduate student Robert Housley said.
“For me it is tough,” he said. “I like McCain, but I lean toward Clinton and Obama.”
Throughout the ULV campus, views of what is important vary, as do opinions of the possible presidential candidates.
“Education is big,” Wesley Lucas, freshman economics major, said. “I think Bush slacked on that.”
Education is a a hot topic in California, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent budget cuts mean less money for already struggling schools. It’s also an important issue on the national level and to voters here.
Mark Goor, dean of the School of Education, said public education has been dominated by the No Child Left Behind act.
“It’s turned schools into testing environments,” Goor said.
“In theory, demonstrating how students are progressing and who is not is an excellent idea,” he said. “In application, it has turned classrooms into teaching to the test.
“Political candidates need to talk more about how we can help our children in schools, become more globally competitive,” he said. “The future of our country is teaching kids to be creative and innovative.”
Republican Ron Paul – who has not dropped out of the primary despite McCain’s success this week – and Clinton are the only two candidates in favor of abolishing No Child Left Behind. Other candidates say they will call for reform of the act.
The environment and the war in Iraq are also very much on the minds of the ULV community.
“The main thing is to get us out of the war,” Jessica Garber, a senior theater major, said. “That is what I want to happen.”
Garber said global warming and polluted waterways need to be addressed.
She feels the best candidate for president is Obama.
“I like the way he can speak to people,” she said.
“Health care is important to me because I have a daughter,” Farah Thurrott, a senior liberal studies major, said. “It is so expensive.”
While many students are listening to the debates and focusing on the issues, there are some who say they do not have time to do the research.
Luis Deluna, a freshman business major, said he hears a lot about the election, but he is too busy with school to think about it.
Other students on the ULV campus said they did not care about the election and that they knew nothing about the candidates or the issues.
For more information on each of the candidates and where they stand on issues like Iraq, abortion, education and healthcare, CNN.com offers a comprehensive breakdown of each issue.
The site lists 17 issues and where each candidate stands on that particular issue.
Other sites that may be helpful to those seeking more information about the 2008 election ar available online.
The candidates’ Web sites can be found at hillaryclinton.com, johnmccain.com, barackobama.com, ronpaul2008.com and gravel2008.us.
Susan Acker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.