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Foreign policy issues take backseat in student voting

By Joe Larson & Sarah Sidlow
On September 25, 2012

As eligible Miami students prepare to vote in November's presidential election, different facets of the candidates' platforms are coming up in conversation. For college-age voters, foreign policy may often be overlooked.

"Foreign policy issues tend to not be the primary motivating factor in elections and this certainly seems to be the case in this election." Haney said. "Still, foreign policy crises can happen between now and Nov. 6, and a crisis could highlight the fact that Barack Obama is the President and make him seem even more presidential. These dynamics are hard to predict, though."

Senior Becca Hartz said she is more concerned with women's issues than foreign policy.

"I don't know much about [the candidates'] views on foreign policy," Hartz said. "I have been mainly concerned about women's rights."

First-year Kelsy Chesser had similar sentiments.

"Obama's record with women's health issues and GLBT issues is what has drawn me into voting for him," Chesser said. "I have not really given much thought to foreign policy."

For senior Chelsea Davis, a balance between social issues and foreign policy concerns should be considered before choosing a candidate.

"For a lot of voters my age, social issues are extremely important," Davis said. "In this election, one of the things that I'm looking at is the candidates' stances on foreign policy issues, especially in regards to the recent uprisings in the Middle East - particularly in Libya."

The students in leadership positions in political student organizations, like College Democrats and College Republicans consider foreign policy a priority in the upcoming election, though their viewpoints differ.

Baylor Myers, president of College Republicans, said he agrees with Romney's stance regarding Israel.

"In the midst of Iran's quest to obtain nuclear weapons, we need these types of strong statements," Myers said. "Obama has dropped the ball on this issue. He has personally damaged our relationship with Israel, unintentionally empowering the Iranians."

In relation to the current crisis in Libya after the angry reaction to an anti-Islamic video spread in the Middle East, Myers said he believes the Obama administration was unprepared to handle it.

"The dominant theme of the Obama administration is that the war on terror is over, and we are safer today than we were four years ago," Myers said. "Clearly, after the murder of our ambassador to Libya that is not true."

Laura Kretz, president of College Democrats, said she believes Obama's work in Libya has been for the most part successful. She said that after the killing of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, there were many pro-American protests in Libya, and that Libya, at least in the confines of the Arab World, is the nation with the highest approval rating toward the United States.

"While the situation is very complicated, President Obama has done a remarkable job working with Libyans and their protest after the assassination of our ambassador shows their support against this act of violence," Kretz said.

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