Guys, you’ve been there, you’re at a house party where you hoped there would be keg stands, but instead, there’s wine and cheese. You’re about to leave when you see her. She must be the most beautiful girl on campus, talking with a group of people. You want to say something, but since the hot topic of conversation at the party is the electibility of Sen. Barack Obama and Sen Hillary Clinton’s campaign finance policies, you’re at a loss.

Angela Cesere
Political science Prof. Vincent Hutchings (ANGELA CESERE/Daily)

Fear not, it doesn’t take much of a primer to get up to speed with the ins and outs of the presidential race. Political science Prof. Vincent Hutchings talks about the real-life application of your poli sci course in deciphering the primary season for the 2008 presidential election.

1. While Mitt Romney’s recent adoption of a pro-life stance on abortion has him in hot water with conservative voters wary of flip-floppers, Rudy Giuliani’s tactic of deferring abortion legislation to the states has gone over well.

2. Giuliani and Hillary Clinton are being hailed as likely winners for their respective parties, but if either forerunner takes a hit in an early primary, news sources might be after a “David slays Goliath” story like the one that helped sink Howard Dean’s campaign after he lost in Iowa in 2004

3. Candidates want the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries to maintain their primacy because it’s cheaper to effectively campaign in a scarcely populated state and a small state than it is elsewhere.

4. It’s hard to predict how and if voters will be affected if faced with the chance to vote for a Mormon, a black person or a woman for the first time in a 200-year history.

5. Candidates this cycle are raising unprecedented amounts of money.

6. With a crowded field in each party’s primaries, competitors are more likely to play nice than in 2000. This election’s candidates will save their worst venom for when they have only one direction to aim it.

7. Each party’s candidate could be decided by the first week of February, with so many states having their primary elections on or before Feb. 5.

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