nullThe Republican Party has yet to narrow down their 11 candidates for the 2016 Presidential Election, but BYU-Idaho students have shown that they favor Ben Carson above the others, despite his recent drop in polls. According to an exclusive Scroll Poll of 125 BYU-Idaho students, 33 percent said they will vote for Ben Carson in the election, with Marco Rubio coming in at 15 percent and Donald Trump and Ted Cruz tied at 12 percent.
Although he is in the top four republican candidates, Carson’s stats have dropped drastically since November when he was point two points ahead of Trump, according to Real Clear Politics. Carson is now currently trailing behind Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in the national polls.
Trump is leading in the polls at 34.6 points, above Cruz who is at 18.8, Rubio at 11.2 and Carson at 8.4, according to Real Clear Politics.
“I think it’s because he’s not a politician,” said Cody Kunz, a sophomore studying computer information technology. “Here at the school, I think that people respect (Ben Carson’s) PhD and extensive schooling.”
Carson grew up in a single-parent household in Detroit, where he dreamed of one day becoming a physician, according to his campaign website. His mother encouraged her children to excel and to reach heights beyond their impoverished upbringing, according to his website. Carson graduated from Yale University, attended the University of Michigan School of Medicine to train as a neurosurgeon and then completed his medical residency training at John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, according to his website.
After his residency, Carson went on to direct pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for over 25 years, according to his website. Shawn Squires, a sophomore studying history, agreed that Carson’s popularity at BYU-I is due to his non-political background.
“He’s a doctor, which makes him very different from past and current presidents,” Squires said.
Kunz said he thinks BYU-I students are also interested in Carson due to way the media portray politics in general.
“Every bit of media, both liberal and conservative, have shown how ugly politics can be, so I think people at BYU-I want someone that isn’t a veteran in the political circuit,” Kunz said.
He said students are also attracted to Carson because his demeanor and attitude are very different from other Republican candidates.
“He is quiet-mannered, which is the opposite of the leading candidate for the GOP, Mr. Trump,” Kunz said. “For some people, that is appealing.”
Kunz said that although he thinks Carson is popular because he is not a politician, that is the reason is Kunz is not voting for Carson.
“I recognize that he is extremely educated being a doctor and all, but he has no political experience,” Kunz said. “His foreign policy is what I would deem as ‘extreme’ saying things like ‘arm people in Ukraine to fight Russia,’ and ‘give more aid to Israel in their fight with surrounding court ties.’”
BYU-I students lean more conservative and support traditional family values, according to the Scroll Poll.
“(Carson) is very popular on campus because he is very proud of his faith and has shown with his example what a Christian should be like,” said Israel Cerda, a junior studying health science. “(Latter-day Saints) are immediately drawn to that in addition to the fact that when it comes to social policies, such as gay marriage and abortion, he is very conservative and advocates for values Latter-day Saints hold dear.”
Travis Thompson, a freshman studying political science, agrees that Carson is so popular at BYU-I because of his views on religion and the family.
“Donald Trump is far behind in polls in Idaho and Utah, possibly because of religion,” Thompson said. “Many people like Carson because of his morals and ideas. He connects with many Idaho conservatives because of them.”
Some BYU-I students support republicans over democrats because they do not think President Barack Obama has fulfilled his election campaign promises of making America safer for its citizens, according to the Scroll Poll. Out of 125 students surveyed, 49 percent said they strongly disagreed that Obama has been a good president, according to the Scroll Poll.
“Obama has done many things both good and bad,” said Derek Halle, a freshman studying exercise physiology. “He did bring change like he promised. However, I do not think he helped bring this country into a stronger, more safe place.”
Halle said he supports Carson because they both have similar values and because Carson deals well with opposition. Halle said that is what he is looking for in a leader of the country.
“He handles everything very well and holds true to traditional values,” Halle said. “As well, he is willing to find solutions to make America safe and the great country it should be.”
Carson has also been very vocal on his stance on family values, according to his campaign website.
Carson’s official stance on marriage is as follows, according to his website:
“I believe marriage is strictly between a man and a woman. While I am against gay marriage, I find that civil unions provide a viable alternative. Civil unions offer same-sex couples various rights, such as hospital visitation rights and property rights, without fundamentally changing the definition of marriage.”
BYU-I students are looking for candidates who believe in God and who are not afraid to make changes to ensure the country is the best it can be, according to the Scroll Poll.
“God gets the credit for all the things I do,” Carson said in an interview with TIME Magazine. “But he also gets the blame. My job is to do the best that I can do.”
Carson also believes that candidates should not pit themselves against one another, according to his website. He said they are all running for the same thing — to make America better.
“I think that we have really great candidates running for this election,” Halle said. “We as a people and the candidates need to come together and stop trying to fight each other on who has the most money or who is the most popular but think about how we can improve as one nation under God.”