New voters could decide race

Amid public concern and growing controversy, the polls are predicting that today’s presidential election is going to be a close call. Six out of every 10 voters polled by the Associated Press believe there will

Amid public concern and growing controversy, the polls are predicting that today’s presidential election is going to be a close call.

Six out of every 10 voters polled by the Associated Press believe there will not be a clear winner. Polls available to voters only help to support this idea.

According to CNN, out of the 538 electoral votes up for grabs, President Bush is considered to have 144 votes locked, and Sen. Kerry 150. The other 244 votes are up for grabs, although 135 are in states leaning toward either Bush or Kerry. 109 votes are in states too close to call.

This battle over electoral votes has caused 15 states to be declared “battleground states” in this year’s election. For a complete list of these battleground states, see the sidebar on page 3.

Gallup is predicting that Kerry will win Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Washington, while Bush is expected to win Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, West Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.

Among likely voters, women are more likely to vote for Kerry, at 51 percent, than Bush, at 35 percent.

College students are expected have a great impact on the presidential election, unlike prior elections where this group has exhibited low-voter turnout. The National Center for Education Statistics is expecting more than five million students enrolled in four-year schools to vote this year.

Both young and newly registered voters add another dimension to predicted election turnouts.

Collete Kemmerling, a student at Temple, is one of the many newly registered voters who plans to vote in this year’s election.

“I’m voting for John Kerry because I’m hoping that he will do a better job than the current president dealing with the war in Iraq, the economy, and other issues that affect the lives of many Americans.”

Kemmerling added, “I can’t say the debates did much for me except to help reaffirm my opinion, support my decision, and increase my confidence.”

Cassandra Thomas is another example of a swing voter who will influence the results of the election.

“I was initially for Kerry, but I changed my mind because I thought Kerry looked so weak in the first debate. I felt like all he did was blame and point fingers.” Thomas thinks Kerry’s proposals for making college more affordable and creating jobs are not feasible.

Although Thomas is a registered Democrat, she believes voting for Bush is the right choice.

“I’m voting for Bush basically because I don’t agree with Kerry’s positions. I think we need to let someone who’s been experienced in it for the past few years deal with it. Getting Saddam Hussein out of power was a huge accomplishment.”

Thomas mentioned her concerns about traveling abroad, particularly about the reputation of American citizens, being jeopardized as a result of Bush’s decision to send troops to Iraq.

“I might say I was Canadian,” Thomas said. She thinks Bush made international relations very tense but ultimately believes he had the right attitude. “Bush made some poor decisions, but we can’t be wishy-washy on our views.”

Thomas also commented on the controversial issues of abortion and stem-cell research. “I don’t think Bush will be able to pass anything to stop abortion,” she said. She agrees with advancements in stem-cell research but still plans to vote for Bush.

Russell Wolfe also plans to cast his vote for Bush.

“I feel that Bush is right on taxes, and Kerry’s been misleading to the middle class,” Wolfe said. A registered Republican who has been for Bush throughout the course of the campaign period, Wolfe added that “I had doubts [about Bush], but I think being in Iraq is the right thing to do. Pulling out is not an option.”

Mable Lee, a supporter of Kerry, says that the most important issue in picking the correct candidate is where they stand ethically. Lee is opposed to Bush’s handling of Iraq and his stances on abortion and gay rights.

“I don’t know if I can trust any politician; they talk in circles. They’re unclear. Even Kerry has been unclear, but the fact that he’s not a closed-minded Republican makes me want to vote for him,” said Lee. “Most people who are voting for Bush are voting for him because they truly support him whereas those voting for Kerry are voting for him because he’s not Bush.”

Erin Schlesing can be reached at; Kristin Maranki can be reached at

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