» By CHRIS COPPEDGE – ccoppedge@my.apsu.edu

As the primary races end and the presidential race heats up, APSU students and faculty turn their attention to the general election this November.

APSU’s College Republicans adviser David Kanervo has a more evenhanded viewpoint of the candidates.

“President Obama is obviously a very strong candidate, and Mitt Romney is the strongest of the candidates on the Republican side,” Kanervo said. “He is best situated to match up with President Obama in appealing to independents and more conservative Democrats who may be unhappy with the president.”

As for the individual policies and positions, Kanervo believes both candidates have some work to do if they want to win the election.

“President Obama needs to show that his economic policies are working and helping the economy to improve, and that his health-care reform is good for the United States,” Kanervo said. “Romney will need to convince people that he will be able to bring the economy back faster and stronger than Obama, and that the president’s health-care reform is too expensive and will not take care of everyone’s needs.”

Opinions on Obama’s accomplishments and prospects vary.

“I prefer Obama because he’s actually trying to make changes in the country,” said APSU student Steve Bennett. “If Romney wins, I’m moving to Canada, but Obama has a better chance of winning because Romney isn’t being supported by the right people. If Obama does end up winning, things will probably stay the same and possibly get better.”

Others agree with this assessment, including theatre major Zach McElroy. “I’m voting for Obama because even though I don’t care for the Democrats, they get some things right,” McElroy said.

Kanervo thinks if President Obama wins, he will continue along the current path regarding policy. “Romney would pursue a more conservative economic policy and perhaps a somewhat different policy titled toward taking a stronger, harsher stand toward China, Russia, Iran and North Korea,” Kanervo said.

“Among other things, the Republicans have alienated a lot of their female base thanks to their views on contraceptives,” said student Richard Myers, referring to the common Republican stance against abortion and against educating children and teenagers about contraceptives and other forms of birth control.

“They’ve also started pandering to ultra-conservatives in the last few years, who aren’t in the majority, and won’t help them win,” Myers said. “Romney’s not the worst Republican who could be president. No matter how strongly he comes across now, this kind of aggression almost always gets toned down after elections.”

Despite this, Myers said he still prefers and will vote for Obama.

Regarding who will win, Kanervo believes Obama is most likely to win because of the improving economy.

“If the economy stalls and people lose confidence in its future improvement, Romney will have a good chance to win,” Kanervo said. TAS