UH community assesses candidates
Roughly 52 percent of UH students backed presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama in a nonscientific poll conducted two months prior to election day by The Daily Cougar.
Obama received 446 of the 850 votes, beating Sen. John McCain by 24 percent and receiving more than double the 241 votes McCain received.
The survey asked two questions of students who said they were eligible voters: Whom will you vote for in the coming election, and why do you support that candidate?
Students could choose Obama, McCain, Libertarian candidate Bob Barr or they could select undecided.
For the first question, Obama scored highest among students.
"My vote is for Obama because I support his economic, social and foreign policies," said political science junior Richard Fernandez. "I believe he is by far the best hope we have to put this country on the right tracks because he believes in the American promise of equality for all."
Obama accepted the Democratic nomination in Denver, Colo. on the 45th anniversary of the "I Have A Dream" speech by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. On his Web site, Obama said he wants to unite everyday Americans, transcending partisan politics.
McCain scored second highest among students with about 28 percent of the vote.
"He has the same moral beliefs that I do," finance senior Kathryn Friedman said. "I can trust him to be a strong Christian leader for our country."
A veteran of Washington, D.C. and Vietnam, McCain wants to offer a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people," he said on his Web site.
Obama and McCain emphasize national unity, but about 16 percent of students, or 141, polled are undecided.
"I don’t feel either candidate has the characteristics to be our next president," music junior Evan Kelsick said. "I think if you take some of Obama’s ideals, his charisma and his public speaking skills and combine that with more of McCain’s ideals, you have a good candidate."
The undecided voters may cast the final vote for the next president, or it may rest upon the shoulders of Barr, who gathered 2.5 percent of the vote, or 22 votes.
The Libertarian Party platform of a smaller government, lower taxes and protected civil liberties appeals to many people.
Music sophomore Jason Abbot will choose to vote for Barr on Election Day because he "is tired of all the usual Republican and Democrat issues."
Another contender who might affect the election is independent Ralph Nader, who announced his candidacy for the presidency on Feb. 24 on Meet the Press.
In the 2000 election, Nader received about 3 percent of the vote, the Washington Post reported, which some pundits said was enough of the vote to make a big difference since President Bush and Al Gore each garnered 48 percent of the vote.
The election might not be decided by Obama’s speeches or McCain’s experience, but rather by which third party draws more votes away from either of the two parties.
There is no telling who will win on Election Day, but UH students would prefer if Obama called the White House home.