- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 26 October 2016
- Written by NICOLE BENIS | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The 2016 general election for president of the U.S. has been at the center of news media and social media; a definitive change from prior elections. With mass media and social media at the forefront, the polls can be easily swayed since information is so vastly available.
Nearly two weeks away from the general election and many voters do not know much about either candidate except for the negative attacks being thrown from each side. Some have thought this election would prove to be advantageous for the Republican establishment since a Democrat has held office for eight years. However, with the election coming closer it seems both candidates are ready for the final push.
According to RealClearPoltics polls from various pollsters, one candidate is up by anywhere from 1-20 points over the other. Some polls note a tie. There are variations in the polls based on the news outlet or poll conducting the research. A tight race has ensued leaving each candidate trying to secure their spot in this election. The problem with this election is that each candidate has ardent supporters or they are loathed. This factor is one that makes this election rather heated since each candidate has many negatives against them.
Regardless of each candidate’s flaws, many people note that this election has been dirty. It has not been centered on policy or the American people. At this stage in the race, Clinton is touring the country with supporters, such as First Lady Michelle Obama.
Across the country, Clinton supporters are hosting phone banks to recruit voters in the final push. There are events to encourage voters in the battleground states such as Pennsylvania to come out and vote on Election Day. Volunteers for the campaign are also doing door to door canvassing in order to rally voters.
Conversely, Donald Trump is currently touring the country making appearances in locales across the country that are battleground states. Currently, Trump is speaking across Florida. Later in the week he will be heading to North Carolina as well as Ohio in order to rally voters that may be on the fence. This tactic has been used in many elections in order to make the final pitch to undecided voters.
Social media has blown up with attacks from each side. The personal character and private lives of each candidate has been aired out for the world to see. Each candidate has been slammed by the media. Even though social media has been around for some time and was utilized in the 2012 election, this election cycle has been supported by constant attacks through social media mediums such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook wars.
Kim Kallok, a senior political science student, said “Social media has had such a huge role in this election because of how easy it is to share their opinions and feelings with the touch of a button. They are able to express themselves through a medium that was only readily available to the general public about a decade ago. People can discuss the election with “friends” and followers. These comments, likes and posts can be either detrimental or helpful for any campaign. At this point, because information spreads so quickly through social media it can make or break a candidate.”
Professor Melissa Ziobro, Specialist Professor of History, said, “I guess what strikes me, personally, most about the election cycle is the divisiveness. The nastiness that seems to abound on campaign stages, in newsrooms, in chat rooms, in living rooms...It saddens me. I have an eight year old, and he’s just old enough where following the election process could have been a great learning experience for him- instead I feel like I have to change the channel or station the second he enters the room. I should point out, though, that 2016 didn’t invent mud slinging. In the 1800 election cycle, the opposition attacks against Thomas Jefferson including calling him “a godless Jacobin who would unleash the forces of bloody terror upon the land.”
One newspaper warned that with Jefferson as President, “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced”.
In the 1804 election cycle, the opposition pounced publicly on Jefferson’s affair with a slave woman, Sally Hemings. In the 1844 election cycle, James Polk was falsely accused of selling slaves to raise money for his campaign. The examples go on and on.”
Also, it is often percieved that in politics it’s sometimes hard for news outlets to remain neutral. Newscasters try to remain neutral but the stations that they work for are up to their own agendas. For instance, someone looking to get neutral and accurate information on this election will have to look far and wide to find true polls that are not biased or favored towards one candidate.
As of current, the debates, advertisements and social media explosions have changed the polls. The faceoff between both candidates are emotionally charged and impactful for American citizens.
According to RealClearPolitics, the polls seem to be fairly equal. IDB notes that it is a tie. CNN shows that Clinton is up 5 points. The Rasmussen Reports say Trump is up 2 points. The polls consistently change by the day, even by the hour. So, why is there a disparity in polls?
Dr. Stephen Chapman, Associate Poltitical Science professor, says that there is a specific reason for disparity amongst various polls: “It is really about the methodology. Some polls are by nature better than others. They key to whether or not a poll is good comes down to if the sample size is representative of the population and if it is random. That’s what makes an effective poll.”
Regardless, this is a contentious election and will be uncertain until the election in three short weeks. American people have been given the democratic liberty to vote, therefore, as one of the only civil duties people have, voting, regardless of your political affiliation in an important right to exercise as a citizen.