Poli sci professors, students discuss ?Bradley Factor?, impact of voting

Katt O'Neill

As the presidential elections are a day away from making history for the U.S., political science professors and students gave their outlook on the elections and shared some of their main concerns and suggestions.

Professors and students weighed in on the many different challenges the U.S. faces that people need to look at when they make their decisions on who to vote for, or even the issue of whether or not the people’s vote will count and why they should vote.’

‘It’s important especially for young people to vote because voting is the primary way we are supposed to communicate what it is that we want,’ said Kristy Michaud, political science professor.

Michaud added that people should feel better and more confident about voting in these elections because the government has been working diligently on making each vote count, as they have solved many of the voting issues.

Poli sci professor William Wallis said people vote because it’s a way of helping them to maintain ‘their standings in their (social) groups.’ He also added that it is ultimately the electoral college, and not individual votes, that will determine the outcome of these elections.

Senior poli sci student Michelle Collins said she believes in voting and people should not be ignorant when they give their votes.

‘(Voters) need to understand the issues and make their own judgment of it and decide not just for the benefit of themselves… but for the benefit for their country,’ Collins said.

‘The closer you get to the elections the more accurate the polls are going to be,’ said Wallis. He discussed ‘the Bradley Factor,’ an example modeled after African American candidate Tom Bradley lost the 1982 race for California governor, despite polls that suggested voters preferred him.’ Wallis said whether or not people vote the same once they are in the voting booth as they did in the polls will determine if race will be a factor on Tuesday.

Collins said she believes these upcoming elections are the most important in the history of the U.S. because disregarding which side might win, the Democrats or the Republicans, ‘on one side there will be the first black president or (on the other side a) female vice president in office.’ She added, ‘the wins will make an impact, whether good or bad.’

Michaud believes the 2008 election is the most important for the U.S. in the past century.
‘… Since the 1970s, trusting (the) government has declined considerably,’ she said. ‘This election needs to reflect the voices of people’hellip; and put in place some government regardless of who wins.’

The financial crisis is also a concern of voters.

‘The economic issues overwhelm everything’hellip; that’s what’s having the most influence on people’s votes,’ said Wall.

The economy, energy, education and health care are all key issues and ‘voters should go to each of the candidate’s website and learn their policies,’ said Michaud.

‘If we focus on energy, we can pick up the economy too,’ she said.

According to Michaud, the next president should fix the economy by first ‘regulat(ing) the mortgage industry and the speculative banking industry.’

‘The wealth gap between the rich and the poor in this country is the biggest since the 1920s’hellip; we need to reduce the disparity between the rich and the poor,’ said Michaud.
Collin’s concern during this election is the economy.

‘America should concern itself with our economy and building it from within the country… (American production) will help our economy and employment go up.’

Michaud’s advice to voters is to turn off the television.

‘Ignore negative campaign ads completely from either side and go straight to the two candidates’ website and read their policies,’ she said.