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Students say debates had minimal impact on Ohio, nation

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

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The interaction between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was all the buzz during the three presidential debates, however the effect on many students has been mild.
Nathaniel Swigger, an Ohio State assistant political science professor, said the presidential debate didn’t have much of an effect on Ohio voters or voters nationwide.
“Lots of people in Ohio already had thoughts (on) who they will vote for,” Swigger said. “It is really hard to shift people’s decisions.”
Amanda Conklin, a first-year in environmental engineering, agreed.
“I already knew who I was going to vote for and the debate was what I expected,” Conklin said. “Since it wasn’t too unexpected what the candidates said, nothing appealed to me to change my decision.”
Renee Louis, a first-year in molecular genetics, also said the debates just strengthened her position.
“I know who I’m going to vote for, and I think that if you watch them, it would either reinforce the thought of, ‘Oh yeah, I’m gonna vote for that person,’ or ‘I definitely don’t want to vote for this person,'” Louis said.
Some students said watching the presidential debates didn’t help undecided voters. Bridget Filarski, a third-year in international studies and Spanish, said even though she watched all three presidential debates and the vice presidential debate, she couldn’t decide who she would vote for.
“I haven’t found that they swing my opinion at all about the candidates. I don’t think that (they) have been very effective in talking about policies,” Filarski said. “I’ve noticed that a lot of times they were bashing the other candidate like talking about them in bad ways, about their policies, stuff like that. It hasn’t helped me make a decision.”
Filarski said the debates were comparable to the campaigns’ advertisements.
“I definitely think that debates are used to highlight the bad parts of other policies instead of actually talking about their own policies,” Filarski said.
However, Conklin said people could trust the presidential debates more than the advertisements.
“I think the real issues come across in the debate,” Conklin said. “In the commercials, it’s just kind of mudslinging. They’re just bashing the other people without saying what they will do for the country.”
However, Conklin said she wanted to hear about more issues, including gay rights.
“Same sex-marriage, stuff like that. None of them came out and that kind of surprised me because they’re huge issues,” Conklin said.
Filarski said she needed extra sources to be informed and wished campaigns focused more on education.
“I needed to do my own research outside of the debates, and actually that helped me choose,” Filarski said. “I think (the candidates) should speak more about their own polices so it can be more educational.”
Obama and Romney were both in Columbus Monday on the final day of campaigning. Obama held a campaign rally at Nationwide Arena in the afternoon where he was joined by Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen. Romney held a campaign rally at Landmark Aviation Monday evening, where he was joined by the Marshall Tucker Band.
According to The Dispatch Poll in The Columbus Dispatch, the numbers are still close between Obama and Romney. As of Nov. 4, Obama leads Ohio 50 percent to Romney’s 48 percent with a 2.2 percent margin of error.

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