Election results discussed at 2012 Campaign Roundup

The political science department hosted its sixth Campaign Roundup on Thursday from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Gold Rooms of the Oakland Center.

The event included a panel of political professionals who broke down results of the presidential, Senate and proposal campaigns.

Chuck Stokes from WXYZ-TV, Christy McDonald of Detroit Public Television, Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network and Bernie Porn of polling firm EPIC-MRA made up the panel, with Terri Towner, assistant professor of political science, as the moderator.

“I (just) wanted to hear what experts had to say about this election,” junior, Aretha Frazier, said. “I feel bad that most of the Michigan proposals failed, but this campaign showed a shift toward more equality.”

 

The hot topics

The event commenced with conversation regarding the presidential election and campaign advertising. Towner started by discussing that this election was the most accurately predicted in history, with the panel agreeing they felt Obama would win.

“I obviously followed all the polls during election season,” McDonald said. “What I found so interesting is we still have to remember that elections are very human as well. And when we calculate the numbers and look at the polls, one of the biggest surprises for me was how important the debates ended up being.”

Spending was the next topic discussed by the panel. It was mentioned that this campaign had the highest costs in U.S. history.

“I was stunned by (the amount of money spent on these campaigns),” Robinson said. “The previous high amount spent in a ballot question was $27 million in 2004.”

According to Fox News, the total amount spent on the presidential campaigns in 2012 was $2 billion.

The economy was recognized as the primary issue in this election, but it seems as though people were focused on other things, according to Towner.

In a 2011 poll, voters looked at the economy and voted whether it was improving, according to Porn. Right before this election, he said the votes went in a more positive direction.

Though they said the economy played an important role, panelists agreed that there were many issues in need of attention this election.

“I think there was a lot of focus on the economy and jobs — and depending on where they were campaigning at the time, the focus would shift,” Stokes said. “There are other issues besides the economy and jobs, and I think you have to focus on those other issues.”

The panel also brought up foreign policy as well as health care, Medicare and Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment.

“The women’s turnout was very important to Barack Obama. Whether it was Romney’s party or himself that had many problems with women,” McDonald said.

Romney’s weakness is foreign policy because he does not have a lot of experience in the subject, according to Stokes. The panel agreed that election key advisers thought they had to make it a choice election, in addition to the need for Republicans to move forward as a party.

“The Republican Party has to figure out what it wants to be (to move closer to the center) if it is going to be a popular party,” Stokes said.

 

Audience input

After the panel analyzed the results of this year’s election, the floor went to audience questions.

“My professor, Dr. Klemanski, mentioned Campaign Roundup in class and I thought it would be interesting to hear what the panelists would say about the election results,” freshman, Jacqueline Yee, said. “It was interesting to hear about the Senate race since most of what we saw on TV was focused on the presidential election. You can tell that they (the panel) are very informed about the subject.”

Members of the panel encouraged students to stay informed about elections, as well as run for office in the future.

“It’s very important for young people to be informed and pay attention to politics,” McDonald said. “Looking around the room, you’re next. I’m impressed by students’ questions, their depth of understanding and curiosity about politics.”

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