LSA senior Lia Clarkson, like many college students, wants the next president of the United States to turn the country around.
“We need a big change,” said Clarkson, who voted for Bush in 2004. “But I don’t know if I’ve seen the person that can do that.”
As Michigan’s primary nears, many of the thirty students interviewed around campus yesterday shared Clarkson’s desire for change and level of indecision about the candidates, with many saying they might not vote in the primaries because of their uncertainty.
Many students said they don’t plan to vote in the Michigan primary on Jan. 15 because the state has been stripped of half of its delegates for the Republican National Convention and all of its Democratic delegates. This occurred after the Michigan state legislature moved the state primary forward, in violation of Democratic and Republican National Committee rules.
LSA and School of Music senior Erica Ruff said the move has discouraged some students from voting. Two of the leading Democratic candidates, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) aren’t on Michigan’s primary ballot.
“Because of the drama with the Democratic party, students don’t seem to be interested in making a decision,” Ruff said.
Ruff said that even though University students don’t seem interested in voting in the primary, she thinks they tend to support Obama’s message. Ruff said Obama appeals to young voters because his platform would address issues facing their generation.
Several students were still unsure about who they would vote for.
Even though she has supported Republicans in the past, LSA sophomore Josie Morris said she plans to vote in Michigan’s Democratic primary.
“I’m torn between Hillary and Obama,” Morris said. “Obama is presenting more new ideas, though.”
Morris said that the candidates’ backgrounds played a role in her decision.
“I’d like to see a woman as president, but it came down to what I identify more with, my race versus sex,” said Morris, who is black.
LSA junior Lee Stobby said he thinks Obama will get the Democratic Party’s nomination.
“That’s where all the momentum is going,” Stobby said.
According to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released yesterday, Obama is leading in the New Hampshire primary, which takes place today. Thirty-nine percent of voters supported Obama in the poll. Clinton placed second in the poll with 29 percent of the vote. John Edwards, who finished second in the Iowa caucuses, polled at 19 percent.
LSA junior Laura Wasserman said she’ll vote for a Democrat in November’s general election, but hasn’t made a decision about who to vote for in the Michigan primary next week.
“I think any of the Democratic candidates would be great and create the change this country needs,” Wasserman said.
But Engineering freshman Evan Bates didn’t agree. Bates said he doesn’t think Obama will change things for the better.
“I’m all for change, just not in his direction,” Bates said. “Barack Obama is a likeable person, more so than Clinton, and he’s less abrasive than Edwards. But I don’t like him as a candidate based on the issues.”
Bates said he isn’t sure who he’ll vote for in Michigan’s Republican primary, but that he’s leaning toward John McCain (R-Ariz.).
“McCain is more realistic on the issues, especially immigration,” Bates said.
LSA senior Lauren Lefebvre, a member of the College Republicans and Students for Romney, said she wants to see more fiscal responsibility in her next president. She thinks Romney would bring that mindset to the office.
“He is a Michigan man,” Lefebvre said. “On social issues, he’s in my frame of mind.”
Lefebvre said Romney’s faith might affect whether people vote for him.
“People are scared about electing a Mormon,” Lefebvre said. “I would hope our generation would be past religious discrimination.”
Bates said he thinks race and gender are a major factor for unsure voters.
“I think minorities will be drawn to Obama and women will be drawn to Hillary,” he said.
LSA junior Audrina Manciel said she supports Clinton because she’s a woman. “Honestly, I’m voting for her just because we haven’t had a woman president,” Manciel said. “That’s the feminist in me.”
Manciel said that Clinton’s experience as first lady and policies as a senator make her a strong candidate.
LSA freshman Brittany Flory also plans to vote for Clinton because of the senator’s plan for education.
“I agree with her stance on most of the issues, especially socially,” Flory said.
Wasserman said she thinks the candidates differ very little within each party. She was confident that the Democratic nominee would win in the general election. Numerous students echoed her sentiments, including more conservative voters.
Clarkson, who identified as a Republican, said she’s not as concerned with the primary as she is with the election in November.
“I’d like to see a Republican as president, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” she said.
Lefebvre said she thinks that any of the Democratic candidates will provide the Republican nominee with a challenge.
“Bush has screwed over the Republicans,” Lefebvre said. “The Democrats will be difficult to beat.”