Students at watch parties see Clinton as victor of final debate
Students across campus gathered for watch parties of the final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Wednesday night.
The moderator was Chris Wallace, the anchor and moderator from Fox News.
The College Republicans at the University of Houston hosted their third debate watch party of the election season at Calhoun’s Rooftop. They were joined by a similar event from the UH Democrats.
To engage students in the election process, the Center for Student Involvement also held a watch party at the Student Center South similar to what events held for the first and vice presidential debates.
“I don’t think it was much of a surprise that (the third and final debate) was the least substantial of the debates,” said political science junior Andy Wilson. “It was the most mild of the debates as well.”
Wilson said that he preferred the moderators of the previous debate, where he felt ABC’s Martha Raddatz prodded the candidates. Students were split on whether Wallace did a good job.
“I think Chris Wallace did a great job,” said media studies junior Alaina Thompson. “Moderators have a really difficult job, no matter what their political beliefs are.”
As with the other debates, the hostility between the candidates dug into the public opinion about their performances. The majority of students interviewed for this article, both Republicans and Democrats, believed that Clinton won.
“I think Hillary won, but Trump has progressively done better in each debate,” said economics senior Cameron Barrett.
Lina Larrahondo, a corporate communication and finance senior, felt dismayed by both candidates.
“You can’t predict the economy,” Larrahondo said, questioning both candidate’s plans to increase spending in a bid to create more jobs.
Although Larrahondo felt Clinton won the debate, the Democratic Party’s candidate policies were not satisfactory enough to earn her vote.
As the debate turned to Trump’s opinions on building a wall along the border, students offered alternative solutions to immigration reform.
“I don’t understand why someone would choose to build a wall instead of just beefing up security — or simply making (policies) more efficient for people to become citizens,” said health and human performance junior Erin Morrison.
Boos and hollers began to emerge from the crowd at Calhoun’s Rooftop as Trump and Clinton began a back-and-forth on foreign policy. As the debate wore on, a student clapped in support of strong comments from Trump about him winning the debate.
Trump inspired more cheers and laughter as the debate continued. Halfway through, students were divided on who was winning the debate.
“Trump is out-talking Hillary, but Hillary is making some good sense,” Morrison said.
Students polled at both locations felt that Clinton won the debate. A majority at the UC event sided with Clinton despite feeling that Trump was leading early. Spectators at Calhoun’s Rooftop were nearly unanimous in praising Clinton’s performance regardless of the candidate they favored.
Election Day is Nov. 8.