With the presidential debates wrapped up, chairmen of both major political parties in Blair County are feeling good about their candidates' chances, and Penn State Altoona students have mixed opinions on debates helping Americans make a decision.
President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney faced off Monday in a third and final debate before the Nov. 6 election. The debate slated to focus on foreign policy took place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.
"I am increasingly confident Mitt Romney is going to win this election," Blair County Republican Chairman A.C. Stickel said when contacted during the debate.
Stickel believes Romney will win Pennsylvania. Obama talks about a plan, but he has had four years in office without accomplishing "many things" he said he would four years ago, Stickel said.
Obama's record contradicts his future plans, he said.
Blair County Democratic Chairman Frank Rosenhoover said the president still has an advantage.
The trickle-down effect will not develop any jobs of consequence, he said. Obama has created 5.2 million in his first four years in office.
"The bottom line is I think the president will prevail," Rosenhoover said.
About 15 Penn State Altoona students gathered to watch the debate inside the Hawthorn Building on campus.
Sophomore Bill Lane, 19, who couldn't watch the debate until later, said the debates are helpful in aiding the American people in their voting decision.
"Without the debates, people would be clueless who to vote for," Lane, who plans to vote for Romney, said.
Senior Justin Girven, who is a political science major and president of Penn State Altoona's Political Science Club, wasn't so sure the debates matter as much to informed voters.
People believe they make a difference, but whether they really do is hard for him to decide personally, he said.
"There's a lot of overstatement by the media in how important the debates are," he said.
He has a hard time recognizing the debates as being as significant as the pundits on CNN make them out to be for the election cycle, he said. Even so, he still favors making them available for people to watch.
For undecided voters, the debates are more helpful, but for people who have chosen a "camp," the debates are "two talking heads going at it," he said.
Girven declined to say who would get his vote.
Sophomore Don Warner, 19, who plans to vote for Obama, said what he took away from the debates was the two candidates' leadership styles and the differences in their ideals for the country's future.
Senior Kimie Snively, 23, a history major, said it is the informed voter who can gain from the debates because they can tell when a candidate is flip-flopping in an effort to attract an undecided voter.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.