MAKING THEIR CHOICE: Bainbridge College students watch the first of the presidential debates, and vote on their preferences using cell phone texting technology.
 

BC students say Romney won 1st debate

Published 9:13am Tuesday, October 16, 2012

By DALE FULLER

BC Executive Director of Institutional Advancement

Bainbridge College (BC) students watching last week’s historic debate between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney overwhelmingly chose Romney, the Republican candidate, as the winner.

Seventy-four students gathered in the college’s new Student Wellness Center to watch the televised debate. Before the debate began, a secret ballot texting poll was taken of the students’ preferences in the race. Fifty-five percent of the students expressed support for Obama, while 45 percent preferred Romney. However, once the debate ended, a second poll revealed that more than two-thirds of the students present felt that Romney won the debate.

“The results of the poll we took of the students closely matched the opinions of the nation at-large,” said event co-sponsor Dr. John Vanzo, BC Associate Professor of Political Science. “What none of us suspected, however, was what a huge difference the debate would have on voters’ preferences in the swing states. The debate seemed fairly boring at the time, but it might become a real game-changer in the general election, unless the president steps up his game.”

For many of the students, watching the debate was an eye-opening experience.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been really interested in an election, and I think it’s great that Bainbridge College has events like this,” said BC student Amanda McKinney. “Watching the debate as a group let us all ask questions and better understand the views of the candidates. Hearing the health care plans of each candidate helped me choose the one I’m going to vote for.”

Before the debate started, BC Associate Professor of History and event co-sponsor Dr. David Nelson gave an audio-visual presentation on the history of presidential debates.

“I mentioned that most debates boil down to a memorable minute or two,” Nelson said. “For the Bainbridge College students, that moment was Mitt Romney’s mention of Big Bird.”

Nelson was impressed not only with the turnout, but also the students’ enthusiasm.

“They really paid attention,” he said. “Don’t believe it when you hear people say that college students don’t care about elections or politics. At Bainbridge College, many do care.”

The debate-watching event was sponsored by the college’s History Club, Social Science Club and the Political Guild political science club. Drinks and light snacks were provided by the Campus Café, with costs underwritten by the college’s Office of Student Activities.

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