WASHINGTON– One by one, they were introduced like contestants on a game show, with the crowd cheering wildly as each name was called out. During Thursday night’s Fox News/Google Republican Debate in Orlando, Florida, the nine potential GOP candidates entertained a variety of questions submitted by voters via YouTube.
Not surprisingly, questions about the economy and jobs were the first to be raised. Several candidates, including Mitt Romney and Herman Cain, have already laid out their detailed plans for fixing the economy earlier this month.
Questions about immigration, health care, and Israel also produced heated exchanges. Education, a topic that concerns many young voters, was briefly discussed. Most of the candidates supported giving power back to the parents, as Rick Perry argued that the “federal government has no business telling us how to educate our children.” They also supported the fight against teachers’ unions, and advocated for reallocating money for schools back to the states.
Many of these topics affect young adults on a variety of levels. However, very few college or high school students posed YouTube questions, and the audience mostly consisted of older voters.
Regardless of the issue, there was generally a negative coalition against Obama throughout the night. Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, said that “My next door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.” Others pointed to Obama’s now 41% approval rating.
Indeed, the atmosphere was raucous at times, and the ongoing sparring match between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry – who were once again positioned next to each other on stage – continued unabated.
In the most recent Gallup poll, Perry is backed by 31% of potential voters, while 24% favor Romney. While these results have been expected, long-shot candidates like Rick Santorum and Herman Cain continue to make their presence felt at GOP debates. Barring a major surprise, their efforts may be in vain.
Nick Fedyk is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.