After three long debates, graduate social work student Megan Sweet finally knew who she was voting for: Sen. Barack Obama.Sweet said that going into the debates, she hadnt fully committed to one candidate.But after watching them, she finally decided on the Illinois senator.I was open to both candidates, Sweet said. I wasnt really impressed with either of them.Sweet said she looked at things like body language and manners in making her decision, alongside the candidates positions on issues important to her such as health care and abortion.Sweet isnt the only student to come out of the presidential debates with a firmer idea of who theyre voting for.Dawn Wimmer, a graduate secondary education student, said that her choice was reinforced by her candidates performance during the three debates.Obama had good ideas, she said. With (Sen. John) McCain, every time you heard him talk, hed say something different about his position.Despite being an avid supporter of Obama, Wimmer said she finally made her mind up on the Illinois senator after the debates.I dont dislike McCain, just his policies, she said.Kyle Sams, a freshman fine arts major, came out with a different view.I think Im leaning more towards McCain, she said.Sams said she didnt like Obamas tax proposals because she felt it taxed the wealthy, and she thinks McCain has more experience.While McCain is the candidate with more Washington experience, its Obamas vice presidential running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, who has more years in government than Gov. Sarah Palin on the republican ticket.James Mark, a graduate social work student and Obama supporter, said McCain wasnt thinking about whats best for the country when he chose Palin. He said Biden, on the other hand, makes up for Obamas lack of experience, such as in foreign policy.But Mark had his mind made up before the debates. He feels each candidate walked around the questions they were asked.For the most part, I dont think they hit on the issues at all, he said. Both candidates are ... very good at not answering questions.But while he thought both candidates missed the mark on clearly stating their positions during the debates, he does agree most with Obamas proposed policies.Mark thinks health care and the economy are the most important issues the candidates are facing.Its not just us; the whole world is dealing with economic issues, he said.But the social work student is focusing in education and poverty. He said poverty has made a shift from urban to rural areas of the country, and there is no real way of pulling out of it.Both presidential candidates participated in three debates. Their vice presidential nominees, Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden, also debated once.A combined audience of 56.6 million tuned in to the final debate, held Wednesday at Hofstra University in New York.I just hope that hopefully the next president will do his best to help the people and this economy, Sams said. Its a hard time for everyone.
This story was written by Tricia Fulks, The Daily Athenaeum