Now that the presidential debates are over, the two campaigns have a little less than two weeks to make their final cases to voters throughout the country with the help of campus branches.
Monday’s foreign policy debate was the last chance for President Barack Obama and his challenger, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, to face off and explain to student voters why they are the better candidate.
University of Wisconsin journalism professor Michael Wagner said the debates themselves might not have had much of an impact in swaying swing state votes from one candidate to the other.
“I think the debates affected people’s perception of the race more than the race itself,” Wagner said. “I don’t think either campaign will have much success at getting people in the other party to cross party lines on Election Day. … What we are seeing now would likely have happened with or without the debates.”
Wagner said a win in Wisconsin would represent a significant advantage, especially for Obama.
“If Obama can win Wisconsin and Ohio, he really doesn’t need another swing state to win the election,” Wagner said. “If he loses Wisconsin, he needs to get Nevada and New Hampshire at minimum to make up for the loss.”
UW College Republicans Chair Jeff Snow said his group has been working hard to get Romney and former Wis. Gov. Tommy Thompson elected.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., came to campus on Tuesday and the group has recently put on events with two of Romney’s sons.
Snow said his group would continue to push for a large turnout from UW students, noting they have a “Commit to Mitt” event on Friday where they will take 30 students to vote early. He said he and various other students would also be going to the Victory Center, a Romney campaign office, throughout the week to make calls and convince people to vote early.
“This is more of a liberal campus, but we have done our part to show that there is a conservative influence on campus and that there’s a lot of support for Mitt Romney and Tommy Thompson,” Snow said.
Chris Hoffman, UW College Democrats chair, said there will be a rally at the Red Gym at 4:30 on Sunday that will include Thompson’s opponent, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison. Those at the rally will then march up State Street to the municipal clerk office to vote early.
He said his group has been working hard to ensure students vote for Obama and Baldwin and emphasized that those who want to early vote should do so before the Nov. 2 deadline and if somebody wants to volunteer, they should go to a local Obama campaign office.
Students for Obama, which has been coordinating with Hoffman’s group, has also been pushing for students to vote early and has registered many students, the group’s chair Peter Anich said.
“We’ve registered many thousands of voters on campus, and to do that, we’ve had a legion of volunteers that are just coming out to help us because they know what a Romney presidency would mean for them,” Anich said.