JANUARY 20, 2012
by Sarah Morano ’14, Contributing Writer
All eyes have been on South Carolina lately. The contest for the Republican nomination will take an important turn with tomorrow’s primary. Candidate Newt Gingrich visited Furman’s campus early on in the election season, and the past few weeks have brought all the candidates to the Upstate as their campaigns have crisscrossed the state.
Tomorrow’s votes will determine who wins in South Carolina, but the results are already in for Furman.
A survey made available to students, faculty and staff members shows dark horse Ron Paul finishing first, with about a quarter of the vote. Trailing by a handful of votes is former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with Gingrich and Rick Santorum tied at about 10 percent. Rick Perry, who recently withdrew his bid, captured less than three percent in the Furman poll.
More than half of the survey takers said the economy was their top issue, followed by the federal budget deficit (21 percent) and healthcare (14 percent). Thirty-seven percent identified themselves as liberal, 34 percent as conservative, 26 percent as moderate, and five percent as libertarian.
One hundred and forty-five people responded to the survey (64 staff, 60 students and 21 faculty).
Polling is an imprecise science, but senior political science major Will Hinson, leader of the Paul campaign on campus, says he’s not surprised at Paul’s popularity among students who are concerned for their futures as they prepare to graduate.
According to Hinson, Paul’s foreign policy stance, which differentiates him sharply from his competitors, has more appeal among collegiate audiences, for whom debates on future policy often have the greatest implications.
“I’m in the Marine Corps,” Hinson says, “and if anyone but Ron Paul gets elected I’ll probably be in Iran in a few years. On the economy, young people see that Ron Paul’s the only one taking the debt seriously because he’s the only candidate that plans on cutting the Federal budget by trillions and eliminating five extraneous departments.”