With the democratic debate airing last Tuesday night on CNN and the presidential election of 2016 getting closer, students are beginning to learn more about the candidates, and the majority of those surveyed have pledged their support to democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Sanders received the majority of the support with 21 percent of claiming they support his campaign. Ben Carson was the runner-up in the survey, with 10 percent of the vote. Donald Trump received 7 percent and Hillary Clinton had 5 percent of votes.
KSU students seem to be drawn to the fact that Sanders is promising free tuition in public colleges and universities, substantially lower interests rates on student loans and free health care. These promises are appealing to the average financially disadvantaged student who is crippling under increasing tuition.
“He has a very good idea of how to provide social needs for people,” James Lawrence, a junior geography major said. “Poverty is one of the biggest things in this country.”
Sanders is also getting attention because of his plans to combat climate change, end pay inequality and manage the greed of pharmaceutical companies as well as the top one percent of Americans.
In addition to the democratic, liberal and socialist supporters, Sanders is even able to receive the support of some republicans. 40 percent of KSU students claim to be republicans. However, more than half of these republicans either support no candidate or support a democratic candidate.
This is partly because they agree with the stances of some democratic candidates, but it is also because the republicans at KSU do not want to see Trump as the next president.
“Donald Trump, in my opinion, is a bigot and has no idea what he’s talking about as far as immigration and social welfare go,” Lawrence said.
“If Trump is the Republican candidate, I might vote democratic,” Kaylie Parker, a senior communications major and Republican said.
The republicans who are voting within their party are supporting Carson.
Parker said she likes Carson’s views on education and his stance on gun laws. Carson supports local control as opposed to federal involvement when it comes to education and believes that the second amendment should remain protected. In addition to these issues, Carson also would like to rid the country of the Affordable Care Act, keep Guantanamo Bay detention camp open and provide pro-life services.
As for the politically involved students who are not supporting Carson, Sanders, Trump, or Clinton, they are either supporting Marco Rubio (3 percent), Carly Fiorina (1 percent) or Jeb Bush (1 percent). The remainder of the students (48 percent), however, are undecided.
“I don’t keep up with politics that much because I feel like it’s a bunch of talk.” Kaitlyn Ball, a senior psychology major, said. “I feel like a lot of the time politicians will say a lot of stuff, but they can’t back it up.”
In addition to this reasoning, some students believe it is too early to begin to keep up with the political debate, while others admit that they are just not interested in politics. Some students said that they would like to be more informed, but feel as though they do not have the time to keep up with politics.
Timothy Kersey, a political science professor at KSU, urges students that staying up-to-date with politics is crucial.
“It impacts them way more than they know, from everything from student loans to the job market that they’ll eventually enter to the value of a degree,” Kersey said. “It’s all political whether or not they realize it.”
He continued to say the 2016 election is actually the perfect time for students to become more involved and form their own political identity.
“The 18 to 25-year-old demographic is the largest eligible voter block and if they wanted to, they could run the election, and I hope they realize that,” Kersey said.
Many students are learning to keep up-to-date with politics by simply following the candidates on social media. Students can also follow news sources on social media such as CNN Politics, Politico, NowThis Politics and PolitiFact. Each candidate also has their own website explaining their stances on the issues and their biography. Lastly, watching the debates is a good way to learn about the candidates.
Eleven percent of students watched the debate that aired last Tuesday night on CNN. The students who saw it said it was insightful and helped them decide which candidate to support.
Anderson Cooper, the host of the debate, along with others, fired away hard questions at the democratic candidates. The questions covered topics such as planned parenthood, black lives matter , gun control and, of course, Clinton’s emails and the Benghazi committee.
“I believe in a society where all people do well,” Sanders said during the debate. “Not just a handful of billionaires.”
“He’s the people’s choice,” Claira Klauder, a junior human services major, said. “He is for the starving college students. He’s for social welfare. He’s for higher minimum wage.”