Uncategorized | 6:20 pm | January 4, 2008 | By Ytorbati

PoliSci professor Hancock still undecided after Iowa

NORMAN, Oklahoma, 6:20 p.m. — For assistant professor in Political Science Ange-Marie Hancock, Barack Obama’s resounding win over third-place Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 in Iowa last night is big news — it is a historical moment, she says — but it hasn’t made her decision as a voter any easier.

“Honestly, right now I am square in the middle between Obama and Clinton,” she says with a laugh during a phone interview.

For Hancock, this is an especially interesting race. In a campaign season with the first viable African-American and female candidates, an expert on the role of race and gender in American politics has much to analyze. And judging by the number of long, informed but impassioned posts on her own blog, “Standing in Solidarity,” within the last week, Hancock has been giving the election a lot of thought lately. The posts, though varied, have a common theme: the role of women, minorities and populist sentiment in the

presidential election.

Hancock says she thinks this election season’s diversity represents a turning point in the treatment minority candidates receive from the media and supporters.

“We’ve come to a much better point, where we can talk about it instead of defining that person and pigeon-holing that person,” Hancock says. “We can talk about the fact that [Clinton]‘s a female candidate and try to get women to support her instead of defining her as only a woman.”

To Hancock, who says her choice will ultimately turn on the candidates’ positions on immigration and health care, New Hampshire represents a chance for Clinton to redouble her efforts, much as a student might study extra hard for the final exam after a disappointing midterm grade.

“Obama’s message is working, and Hillary will have to figure out how to reshift the conversation to things that play to her strength,” Hancock says. “I think Iowa is critical and historic, but obviously Feb. 5 is going to be far more important.”

-June Torbati

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