Union University

Union University Department of Political Science

Department of Political Science

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Students Watch McCain-Obama Debate

Sep 27, 2008

Last night, approximately 80 students watched the first presidential debate at Barefoots Joe and then discussed what they saw with Union's political science faculty members.

Much like a focus group, Dr. Evans asked some preliminary questions before the debate began. As was expected, the audience was overwhelmingly Republican and 82% supported McCain while the remainder were undecided or for Obama. 80% of the audience thought that the ecnonomy is the most important issue in the election while the remainder though terrorism was the most important issue. Health care and Iraq were not important. As far as the importance of the debate for them, only 8% thought it would be very important to who they would vote for, 44% thought it somewhat important, and 48% unimportant. Going into the debate, 75% expected Obama to win the debate due to his oratorical skills and analytical skills honed as a law school professor.

After the debate, Dr. Evans asked the students who won the debate. 64% thought McCain won because he put Obama on the defensive, was more factual, and focused more on the future. The Obama supporters thought that Obama won because he used more logic while McCain used more emotion through stories he told, and linked McCain to the unpopular Bush Administration. After the debate, 77% of the students said they would vote for McCain and 9% would vote for Obama. The undecideds were split evenly between McCain and Obama. Overall, the consensus of the audience was that they would like to know more and see more debates before making their decision.