STORRS--On October 15, 2012, Alternative Political Society, a student organization at the University of Connecticut, held a mock presidential debate. Students represented Barack Obama of the Democratic Party, Mitt Romney of the Republican Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, and Rocky Anderson of the Justice and Connecticut Independent Parties. These were the six candidates who met at least one of the three criteria - they must either be on the ballot in Connecticut, be on the ballot in enough states to mathematically have a chance of getting 270 electoral votes, or they must have gotten at least 1% in a national tracking poll.
This debate was followed by a straw poll where audience members could vote on their preferred candidate.
However, there was a catch. Those in the audience were not told which candidate was which until after they voted. Instead, they watched and voted on "Candidate 1", "Candidate 2", etc.
The results were:
First Place: Rocky Anderson, 57.6%
Second Place: Mitt Romney, 15.4%
Third Place: Jill Stein, 11.5%
T-Fourth Place: Gary Johnson, 7.7%
T-Fourth Place: Barack Obama, 7.7%
Sixth Place: Virgil Goode, 0%
The point of this debate was to show how people would vote if they voted based just on the issues and not on the Party line next to the candidate's name. As the results show, when voters choose their candidate just on the issues, third parties get a lot more support.
Alternative Political Society is a non-partisan political organization on the UConn campus. Rather than advocate any specific ideology, they advocate awareness of all candidates, parties, and ideologies rather than just the Democrats and Republicans. This debate furthered that mission by giving all candidates equal attention and showing students how to vote on the issues.
Watch for an article in the Daily Campus, UConn's student paper. It will be published soon.