BY NICK BOUGADES
In about one year’s time, citizens across The United States will make their way to the polls to elect the new leader of the United States. Americans have very clear qualities they want in their next president, according to the Pew Research Center.
The Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan organization that conducts independent studies on major issues and trends that impact the U.S. and the rest of the world, recently published a study on what prospective American voters are looking for in candidates.
Overall, Pew found that Democratic Party supporters and Democrat-leaning voters primarily valued “experience and a proven record” in a candidate, whereas the majority of Republican Party supporters and Republican-leaning voters said that they are seeking “new ideas.”
This is reflected in the national polls, as well. The frontrunners for the Democratic Party nomination are two career politicians in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders. The top of the GOP polls, however, shows a real estate mogul in Donald Trump and a former neurosurgeon in Dr. Ben Carson.
Although Election Day is far away, the campaign trail is heating up quickly for Democrats and Republicans alike. And with that, students at County College of Morris beginning to think about the decision they will have to make next November.
Yvette Viasus, an international business major at CCM, is already looking ahead to 2016. Viasus, unlike many of her fellow Democrats, said she values new ideas over experience – although her favorite candidate offers “both experience and new ideas.”
As for the field of candidates, Viasus said that it’s “missing a couple of people,” but she remains confident in Sanders as a good fit as president.
She said that she agrees with nearly all of Sanders’s views and appreciates the attention he’s brought to the issue of climate change.
“I hate to worry about any other political issues when the environment is on the line,” Viasus said.
On the opposite side of the political spectrum, Republican Will Wahl of Long Valley is also awaiting the impending election. Contrary to Viasus, Wahl is seeking a president who will “focus primarily on government spending and taxes.”
Wahl said he appreciates new ideas, but a candidate’s chances of winning are a more important factor for him. Wahl said he thinks it’s a bit early to choose a favorite candidate, but he likes the fact that there’s “such a wide variety in the pool of candidates.”
“I would probably say my favorite candidate is [Sen.] Marco Rubio.” Wahl said. “At this point.” Wahl said he loves Rubio’s foreign and economic policies, leading him to believe Rubio is best for the presidential role.
Quick to disagree is George Parfenyuk, of Cedar Knolls. Parfenyuk identifies himself as a “left-wing capitalist” and is in support of Sanders as he sees the senator as “a very moral person.”
Parfenyuk said that all he is looking for in the next American president is someone who will “keep the economy stable and promote equality throughout the United States” and be willing to compromise with the opposing party.
“If [Sanders] doesn’t win, I just want someone with experience,” Parfenyuk said. “I don’t care what your views are as long as you know what you’re doing.”
The 2016 presidential race is already becoming an intriguing affair. It will certainly be interesting to see how it plays out over the next 12 months.