By Aye Myat | Staff Writer
With the results of the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary in, the race for the 2016 presidential election is getting tight. Here at The Bulldog, we have taken interest in UoR students’ opinions for the 2016 election. Two weeks ago we posted a Facebook poll and over sixty responses have trickled in.
The poll focused around the question of whether or not presidential candidates Donald Trump (R) and Bernie Sanders (D) are a political sensation, or if they have real potential to win the presidency.
Sanders’ standings on college tuition and universal health care as well as taxation speculation on Wall Street contribute to his appeal to younger, more educated millennials. Naturally, this includes most college students who are informed about the various issues that the U.S. faces.
While millennials gravitate towards Sanders, fiscal and social conservatives align themselves with Trump. As Trump made headlines on his brutal remarks surrounding minorities and other candidates, his media coverage increased and with that opinions became polarized. Student opinion of Trump range from “playing with people's fears” and having “no real substance behind his words.” to ‘’a modern day, less overt racist.”
Despite having the attention at the polls being centered on Sanders and Trump, student responses included other candidates such as Hillary Clinton (D) and Ted Cruz(R).
In total, 67 students took the poll and out of those 67, 41(61%) predicted that Sanders will be elected as the Democratic nominee while 31(50%) agreed to Trump being elected as the Republican nominee. When asked the question of who would win in the general election 46(75%) predicted Sanders, 11(18%) for Clinton, 5(8%) for Trump, 1 each for Rubio and Cruz, and 3 stated no candidate.
Although the poll numbers indicated a higher degree of support for Sanders, criticism appeared as well. Response to the element of sensation for Sanders included: “Though lofty, his agenda is fit for closing the large gaps in economic equality that we have. We are a nation divided, as seen at UoR, the City of Redlands, the state of California and our Country as a whole. I think he will help raise political consciousness in this country and in turn help the people take action in an effort to bring our race closer together.”
Another said: “I do realize that the odds are against him. If he wins Iowa and New Hampshire, at that point is when Democratic voters tend to take a longer look at whom they want to vote for, based on realistic possibilities of being elected. I hope that political saliency will be at an all-time high at our college campus and others around the nation. This in turn will give Sanders a much better chance of ultimately being the Democratic nominee.”
In contrast to those who “feel the bern”, comments on Trump were negative and showcased the polarized positions of far left or far right we see on the national scale. Response to the element of sensation for Trump included: “I think it is clear that Donald Trump and his far-right populist message are here to stay. He is capitalizing on the grievances of older, white, non-college educated voters who are dismayed by the economic effects of globalization and the political/social effects of diversity in this country. I don't think those grievances are going away anytime soon, and they exist in similar forms in other countries. Nigel Farage in the UK, Marine Le Pen in France, Viktor Orban in Hungary, and others are basically saying the same things as Trump. So, I don't think Trump will fizzle out anytime soon. That is, unless the Republican establishment can rally around one of his opponents. But it seems like they're more willing to accept him than his closest competitor at the moment, Ted Cruz.”
According to another student, “The Republican candidates are far too extreme. Trump does not have the potential to win, but he does have the potential to gain the popular vote. I don't think a sufficient number of electoral voters will be insane enough to vote for him.”
Despite political opinions, most if not all can agree that the 2016 election will go down in history as being extremely polarized. As one student puts it, “I think people like that both candidates seem to be different than the status quo.”