Public sentiment toward the vice presidential candidates may be of tremendous and unprecedented consequence in next Tuesdays election.
Without a doubt, the fate of the presidential candidates will be largely contingent upon the impressions that their running mates have made on the American public.
Reports at each of the nine UC campuses that serve undergraduates show that though responses to individual candidates vary, many students said they felt strongly that the vice presidential nominees played a substantive role when deciding which presidential candidate to support.
Students from both parties and those who did not identify with either said that the vice presidential nominees had reaffirmed their positions on the presidential candidates.
(The vice presidential candidates) made me feel completely more secure about voting for Barack Obama because Palin is an insult to politics everywhere. ... I think shes completely underqualified and doesnt have anything that she brings to the election other than a lot of Internet jokes, said Vivian Amezcua, a third-year rhetoric and political science student at UC Berkeley.
But even students who were not so staunchly opined attributed much of Obamas favor among young voters to the negative attention they said Palin had brought to the McCain campaign.
At the vice presidential debate they asked Palin, If a girl was raped by her father and wanted to abort the baby, should she? And Palin was like, Absolutely not! And its those kinds of radical situations that I think motivate people in my generation to strongly go against McCain, said Michelle Ezroj, a fifth-year management science student at UC Irvine.
Though critics for Gov. Palin were not few or far between, few students said they felt that Sen. Biden had been as influential in their decision as Palin had.
(Biden) seemed like a safe choice but a smart choice, said Sophia Orozco, a second-year business student at UC Riverside.
An overwhelming majority of students interviewed throughout the UC campuses said they felt that Sen. Biden had not played an influential-enough role in Obamas campaign.
Some students explained that while they thought Palins presence had outshined Bidens in the election, her reputation and representation in the American media were unjustly negative.
Shes very straightforward with her answers. She doesnt try to mix-match words or go around the issue like the candidates have, said Adrienne Macalinao, a first-year psychology student at UC Riverside. She appears very homely the average American and thats something that I know a lot of people would be comfortable voting for.