By William Earnhart, Contributing Writer
The current presidential race for 2016 is already promising to be a wild ride. So far, most of the attention in the media has been fixated on Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton, with looming scandals surrounding her private email server, and Donald Trump, who has proven unstoppable so far in the polls despite his inflammatory rhetoric. But as some would say, it’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for.
While Trump’s grandiosity and flair seem to be resonating with Republican voters nationally and the Democrats seemingly being left no other choice but Hillary, I wanted to get a feel for what the students here at Mississippi College were making of the candidates so far. With help from Glenn Antizzo, chair of the political science department, I put out a quick poll to test the waters. The results were clear: Ben Carson is the frontrunner.
35.5% of those polled who voted for a Republican candidate said their vote is with Carson. Trump came in at a surprisingly low second choice at 13.3%, while Mike Huckabee fits in close at third place with 11.1% so far. No other Republican broke double digits.
On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton is clearly leading at 60% with Bernie Sanders taking up the other 40% remaining. However, when looking at the numbers as a whole in head to head match ups, Ben Carson leads at 29%, far ahead of Hillary at 10.9%. Donald Trump is in a dead tie with Hillary while Huckabee again is close behind at 9%.
So what does this tell us? So far, it appears that Mississippi College students are looking a little farther than the immediate media craze surrounding the current national frontrunners. The most common reason given for supporting Ben Carson among students is that he appears cool, calm and collected. Ben Carson’s boding confidence is resonating well with students on campus, and they say he has the genius to back it up.
Most students reported that Carson’s Christian beliefs and conservative stances on social issues were something they admired. Carson is fresh, new and brings a different perspective to the table, one not tainted by the bizarre politics of Washington.
Issues that were also cited by the students as being top priorities in the coming election were foreign policy, immigration and the economy. It becomes pretty clear when looking at the responses given by most students that this election will play an extremely important role in the future of our country.
While it is still very early in the race to make any definitive statements one thing is already abundantly clear: Ben Carson definitely is making a good impression on students here at Mississippi College. It will be very interesting to see where things end up in 15 months, but for right now it looks like students believe Carson can truly, “Heal. Inspire. Revive.”