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Columbia Missourian

Obama, Romney, Ryan, Biden: Who would you study (or tailgate) with?

By David Conway
October 11, 2012 | 11:17 p.m. CDT
Janna Ryan, left, Liza Ryan, center and Charlie Ryan, left, look on as Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., second from right, shakes Vice President Joe Biden hand at the end of the vice presidential debate Thursday at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

COLUMBIA — Over the past 12 years, the question "Which candidate would you rather have a beer with?" has become a staple of presidential horse-race coverage. For better or worse, personality plays a factor in the choice some people make in elections.

Before Thursday's vice presidential debate, we once again went to a nonpartisan watch party at MU to ask students questions about the election. To find out more about their opinions of the candidates, we asked them:


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In our extremely unscientific survey of 20 students at the event, 65 percent of respondents chose members of the same ticket for all three answers.

"Nothing sounds better than Al Green and potato salad with Barack Obama," Jennifer Pagan said about tailgating with the president. When it came time to hit the books, she added, "we can watch PBS during study breaks."

When people answered the first two questions differently, 20 percent said they'd vote for the ticket with the candidate they'd party with over the one with the candidate they'd study with.

Madison Knapp said she'd rather study with Obama since "he's better at explaining things without being redundant, it seems." However, she intends to vote for and would want to tailgate with Mitt Romney, who Knapp said "probably goes to the kind of tailgate where they serve lobster and hand out free merch."

Daniel Lewis said he plans to vote for Obama, with whom he'd rather tailgate. He'd rather study with Romney, though.

"He has two Harvard degrees — if it's Obama, you're kind of screwed because he only has one Harvard degree," Lewis said.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they'd vote for the ticket with the person they'd rather study with instead of the one with the person they'd tailgate with.

Ted Hammers, who plans to vote for Obama, said he'd rather party with Romney. "Not because I like him," Hammers said, "but because I bet he can party."

Obama, however, was the most popular answer for all three questions.

Overall, Romney fared best in the tailgate question, which might be surprising, as he doesn't drink alcohol for religious reasons.

Ten people said they'd tailgate with Obama, while eight said they'd tailgate with Romney. One person each said he or she would tailgate with vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden. (Biden also does not drink alcohol.)

Fourteen respondents said they'd rather study with Obama, while four said they'd study with Romney. Again, one person each said he or she would study with Biden or Ryan.

Overall, 14 people said they planned on voting for Obama and Biden, while six said they planned to vote for Romney and Ryan.

Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.