Carolina readies voters with forum on presidential primaries
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — The race to the White House is underway, but the candidates must first go through South Carolina’s First in the South Primary. To help voters prepare, U.S.C. hosted a Symposium on Presidential Primaries in South Carolina Tuesday night. The event featured a panel of national political reporters, state political party chairmen, polling experts and scholars. Charles Bierbauer, dean of the College of the Information and Communications and a former White House correspondent, served as the moderator. The panelists included Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent with the Washington Post; Alexis Simendinger, White House correspondent for RealClearPolitics; Jaime Harrison, chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party; Scott Huffmon, a political science professor at Winthrop University who directs the center that produces the well-known Winthrop Poll; and Laura Woliver, a political science professor at UofSC and an authority on gender and politics and political interest groups. They all agreed, the primary process is not what it used to be, because the political game has changed. A major component of that is polling. “The innovations and the measurement has much more force now in politics in some ways, especially for the year before,” Simendinger said. But it’s crucial, these panelists say, for you to remember what polls represent. “A poll is a snapshot of right now,” Huffmon said. “This moment. They are not necessarily predictive, although you can create a statistical model of them, but they’re a snap shot of now.” And in a state like South Carolina, with a nearly 30-percent African-American population, Harrison stresses our importance. “South Carolina is very unique when it comes to Iowa and New Hampshire,” he said. “And it’s because South Carolina looks more like the rest of the country than Iowa or New Hampshire.” These panelists stress, like the “hope” and “change” backing President Obama felt, it’s imperative that young people vote. “You guys have come of age in a time of economic trauma, economic anxiety, very different than anything I can think of,” Tumulty says. If you need to register to vote, the Student Voter Registration Coalition at Carolina is hosting a registration drive. It will be September 22 on Greene Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.