Union University

Union University Department of Political Science

Department of Political Science


Students Watch 2nd McCain-Obama Debate

Oct 8, 2008

Last night, approximately 100 students watched the town hall debate between Senator John McCain and Barack Obama at Barefoots Joe and then discussed the debate with Union's three political science professors.

42% of the crowd thought McCain won the debate while 17% thought Obama did and 30% thought it was a tie. Reflecting the conventional wisdom, Union students thought that McCain more directly answered the question while Obama was more thoughtful in his responses.

Dr. Evans also tested how well the differing candidates messages were getting through to voters. 86% of students think that Obama does not have the experience to be president while 100% thought McCain did. One student said that even though the campaign has gone on for almost a year, she still did not know enough about Obama to feel comfortable with. Another student said that he has not authored a major bill which concerned him.

Due to recent attacks on Obama over Willian Ayers, Tony Rezko, and JeEremiah Wright, Dr. Evans polled students on whether Obama has the character to be president. 56& thought he did which for a Republican leaning group is probably pretty good. However, students expressed more concern over his judgment as 68% thought he lacked the judgment to be president. The fact that he has voted present in quite a few votes and missed 2 years of votes to run for president concerned several students.

Since Obama has argued that McCain is "out of touch" with most voters due to his policies, we asked students which candidate is more in touch with average voters. Not surprisingly for Union, 50% said McCain, 19% Obama, 13% both equally, and 19% neither. Moreover, the vast majority of students trust neither to handle the economy in these tough times.