U professors host panel forum on presidential election

The political science department hosted an open forum Monday night to address questions about this yearâÄôs presidential election. Political science department chairman Raymond Duvall, who wasnâÄôt on the panel, said he wanted the forum to cast a new light on the election as well as the individual candidatesâÄô campaigns. âÄúWe depend so much on either a presentation of short snippets of partisan bickering or media sound bites,âÄù Duvall said. âÄúVery rarely do we get the opportunity to have some real insight thatâÄôs based on state of the art research.âÄù The five panelists are current or past professors in the UniversityâÄôs political science department. Panelist Larry Jacobs is also director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Each panelist made a presentation on one of six topics, such as the limits of opinion polling and candidate images. At a reception prior to the panel, Duvall called the study of campaigns and elections at the political science department âÄúone of the great strengths of this college.âÄù Panelist and professor John Sullivan talked about negative advertising and how it influences the American voter during election years. Panelist and professor Kathryn Pearson said an important point to look at is why presidential candidate Barack ObamaâÄôs support is extending beyond the traditional swing states, and why candidates spend so much time on just a handful of states in this electoral system. âÄúDepending on the state in which voters live, there are different effects of the campaign,âÄù Pearson said. Panelist and professor emeritus Bill Flanigan presented the topic of race and gender, and how the presidential and vice-presidential candidatesâÄô images have played out in the 2008 election. Each of the six topics generated too many audience comments for time to allow, but a question-and-answer forum followed the presentations. Some questions were on such topics as the issue of swing voters, the correlation between registering to vote and actually voting and the importance of political party identification. University students Dan Wilken and Ben Accola said they came because they wanted to see their professor, panelist and professor Joanne Miller , give her presentation, but said they didnâÄôt have any questions that they wanted to address.