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Boston U. Political Groups Forge Pre-election Alliances

This story was written by Vivian Ho, The Daily Free Press

With less than two months until the 2008 presidential election, Boston University students and extracurricular groups are beginning to align their political affiliations with on-campus groups.

The BU College Democrats have been working closely with the BU for Barack Obama group, BU Democrats President Krista Zalatores said.

"We'll be going up to New Hampshire at different times during the semester to canvas and go door-to-door for Obama," Zalatores, a College of Arts and Sciences junior, said. "We definitely are trying to explain change versus more of the same. All of the issues that people care about -- their tuition, civil rights, women's rights -- they're all on the line for this election."

Despite a heated race for the party nomination, Hillary Clinton supporters have united with BU for Obama to further campaign efforts, Zalatores said.

"People who support Hillary understand the importance in getting a Democratic candidate elected," she said. "It's only the people who haven't unified that are making the news, and those are definitely the exception."

BU Democrats currently have 703 people on their mailing list, she said.

The BU College Republicans are focusing on educating members about the party's presidential and vice presidential candidates, group Vice President Joe Bravoco said.

"Now we're focusing on the key aspects of John McCain that represent the conservative policies," Bravoco, an Arts andSciencesjunior, said. "We don't specifically say you have to support John McCain. If you were a Rudy Giuliani fan before or a Mitt Romney fan, we're now looking at what common ground we all have with John McCain."

Bravoco said he thinks the party now has a better chance at winning with Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

"We're looking at the aspects she represents that positively portray the conservative American," he said. "Sarah Palin appeals to the conservative base, and she does appeal to the women."

The BU Republicans have more than 300 people on their mailing list, but Bravoco said he thinks the Democratic vote will be more represented in BU's student body.

"I think in this election, you're going to have a lot more students voting, because a lot of students love Obama at this point," he said. "Obama is the new guy, and McCain is the old guy."

In an unscientific Daily Free Press survey, 71 out of 100 students polled said they planned on voting on the Democratic ticket in this year's election, while 13 said they were undecided and six said they did not care. The Republican ticket received 10 of the 100 votes.

"It strengthens your values," CAS junior Becky Gordon said of being a Republican on a liberal campus.

Of the 100 students, 49 said they consider themselves Democrats, 8 said they consider themselves Republicans and a total of 37 said they were independent, undecided, unaffiliated or with another party.

"I would rather vote on issues rather than parties," freshman Joseph Negash, who is voting Democratic, said. "I don't always agree with everything the parties stand for."

Political science professor Betty Zisk said Massachusetts has traditionally been a liberal state.

"It is probably one of the most liberal states in the country, and it always has been," she said. "The combinationof unions, a highly educated and liberal population and a lot of universities and young people -- it's traditionally been Democratic."

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