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Students prepare to vote in upcoming presidential election

People around the country are waiting for the outcome of next Tuesday's presidential election. Students at Ole Miss continue to weigh their options in selecting a candidate to support next week.

The 2012 presidential election is less than a week away, and the deciding factor could once again be the youth vote.

Some students at Ole Miss are aware of each candidate's positions and strengths, but they are still in the process of deciding for whom they will vote, based on different aspects of the candidates' platforms.

Freshman theatre major Jasmine Hawkins, focusing on social issues, said she finds herself agreeing with President Obama’s open stance more than with that of Gov. Mitt Romney.

“(Obama) gives us more of an option to choose — such as abortion," she said. "It’s not an automatic, ‘You’re wrong.’ It’s more like you have (a) choice."

Junior print journalism major Tanner Marquis, however, said he thinks the most important issue right now is the state of the economy.

“Mitt Romney, I feel like, is going to be way better for the economy than Obama would be," he said. “(The economy) doesn’t affect just government, it affects the individual.”

Senior exercise science major William Shaw agreed with Obama's policies on energy.

"I do believe that we should focus on creating jobs using renewable energy sources," Shaw said. "I think that’s important as we continue on to the future.”

However, Shaw does not support the president’s new health care law.

“I do believe everybody is entitled to have care," he said. “But then again, I do believe that we all should take the initiative to work to earn our own health care, not basically (have it given) to us from the government.”

Associate professor of journalism Debora Wenger said she believes that media portrayal is a primary cause of the country's division on issues.

“In terms of media portrayals, people who favor one candidate or the other always think that their candidate is being mistreated by the media,” she said.

“I mean, (it's) pretty standard that if you’re a Romney fan, you feel like all the media are liberal and they support Obama and they’ll never give Romney a fair shake."

Wenger said she believes that Hurricane Sandy will influence the outcome of Tuesday's election.

“Hurricane Sandy and the impact that it had recently on the Northeast is going to be a factor in this election,” she said. “Some pundits are basically saying the campaign for all intents and purposes ended last week before the storm hit, so wherever the candidates were at that point, that’s where they’re going to be on Election Day.”

However, not every student will be voting for Romney or Obama.

Sophomore broadcast journalism major Jenna Hecker said that she does not favor either Obama or Romney and will likely support former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's candidate.

“For Romney, if you look at his voting history, all he does is flip-flop and change his opinions and then says he’s maturing - it’s the most obnoxious thing about him,” Hecker said. “In terms of Barack Obama, my biggest problem with him is he signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would allow the government to indefinitely hold a citizen of the United States without a trial.”

Hecker said that she supports Gov. Johnson because he is consistent in upholding the Libertarian vision, an action she considers "extremely admirable in today’s politics.”