MU students reflect on Iowa caucus results

Some of their concerns are the national debt and the job market they will face.

The first contest for the Republican presidential candidates has passed, surprising many with its results. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney beat out former Pennsylvania congressman Rick Santorum by a mere eight votes.

Romney received 30,015 votes and Santorum received 30,007, according to the Associated Press.

“It’s crazy considering how many votes were put in,” said Ryan Walker, MU freshman and Iowa native. “They say your vote doesn’t matter, but look at what just happened here. You wonder how one extra stop in a city could’ve changed the caucus.”

MU College Democrats Vice President Thomas Wright said in an email he thinks Romney would present the greatest threat to President Barack Obama in the upcoming presidential election, because he thinks he appeals more to independents than the far right.

“I think (the results) are interesting, because it shows that the Republicans are still not pleased with Romney,” Wright said in an email.

For some students, the increasing national debt and the slow job market are the biggest concerns.

“I think it’s going to come down to government spending and jobs for a lot of people, me included,” MU College Republicans President Craig Arnzen said. “And I think the candidate that can carry that forward the best is the one that can sell (themselves) the best to Republicans. I trust both Romney and Santorum could do this.”

At the same time, some college students identify themselves as independents, unimpressed with the ineffective partisan lines.

Iowa State student Molly Bryant attended the Ames Straw Poll and various campaign events to form her own opinions about the diverse competitors for the Republican Party nominee. She said she considers herself an independent.

“I think that Ron Paul pretty much addresses the financial aspect of it,” Bryant said. “I went and saw him speak in Davenport over the break. He didn’t say how he would get students jobs (after college), but he’s the only one who brought up the fact.”

Bryant said she thinks the Iowa caucus gives an accurate reading of how the election will transpire, because the diversity in Iowa allows for a wide variety of opinions to be voiced.

Walker said he thinks this caucus might not have the significant impact people think.

“The political landscape changes in a matter of days,” Walker said. “Everyone’s looking for someone who’s not Mitt Romney right now. It just depends on the flavor of the week for the Republicans.”

Walker said he is looking for the candidate that is reasonable about social issues like gay rights and subjects like evolution. He wants someone who is focused, with a track record that proves he gets things done.

“I find Santorum’s totally anti-gay platform to be repulsive,” Walker said. “I think that is a social issue that is really nailing the GOP right now, and that’s not going to let college students latch on, because we’ve been raised in a time that accepts that lifestyle.”

The New Hampshire caucus is set for Jan. 10.

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