Groups analyze mock election data, post-election survey
Natalie Weber | Wednesday, April 19, 2017
BridgeND, Student Government, NDVotes and the Center for Social Concerns hosted a discussion called “How Did ND Vote?” on Tuesday analyzing the results of a post-election survey of students conducted by the Center for Social Concerns (C.S.C.), as well as data from the mock election held before the presidential election.
According to junior, Clara Yang, a student assistant for the C.S.C., the C.S.C.’s survey had a response rate of over 30 percent and gathered almost 3,000 responses. Sophomore Prathm Juneja, the current student government chief of staff, helped organize the mock election and said it had about 857 participants.
“Of the overall sample [of the C.S.C. survey], we have 61 percent undergraduate students, 47 percent are female, 22 percent are students of color and 61 percent are Catholic students,” Yang said.
Sophomore Aileen Markovitz, also a student assistant for the C.S.C., said this year, more students voted third party than in past presidential elections.
“I just want to point out one thing in particular with the 2016 vote — you can see we have a much higher third party vote, at 18 percent, versus between two and four percent in the other years” she said.
Surveyors noticed various demographic differences which correlated with how students chose to vote.
“In the College of Arts and Letters and Architecture, there’s a higher percentage of Clinton supporters, while in College of Business, more students tend to support Donald Trump,” Yang said.
Markovitz also said there was a marked difference between genders when it came to candidate choice.
“There’s a really large gap in between the genders. Females are voting 70 percent for Clinton, versus 46 percent of males and we do see a much higher third party margin in male voters. 16 percent versus 9 percent of females,” she said.
Students tend to vote for more Democratic candidates as they progress through their college experience; however, this correlation does not imply causation, Yang said.
“It’s possible that they’re voting more independently of their family choices or it’s possible that they’re changed by their college education, et cetera,” she said. “There are many prospects.”
Juneja said within groups of friends who participated in the mock election, friends tended to hold similar political views.
“One of the really fun things we saw when we were analyzing the data is that when you went and looked at the spreadsheet as results came in, you’d see that there was like three Trump voters in a row or three Clinton voters in a row and it’s because friends would enter the dining hall at the same time and do the mock election together,” he said. “So common groups of friends would share political ideologies, political beliefs. ”
Markovitz said while students indicated on the C.S.C. survey that they felt comfortable discussing politics in their dorms and with their friends, the majority of students did not actually have political discussions with others.
“77 percent of respondents said that they feel able to have political discussions in their hall, with only 23 percent actually saying that they did,” she said. “So you have the proportions exactly flipped on people who feel they can and people who actually do.
“Even with friends, we have 89 percent of people saying they feel comfortable talking with their friends about politics, with only 45 percent of people actually doing so.”
Young voters have a low turnout rate, especially during non-presidential years — a fact which prevents youth voices from being heard, Juneja said.
“In 2014, youth aged 18-29 had a 19.3 percent turnout rate,” he said. “ … Just think about the fact that not even close to a majority of youth voices are heard in turning out.”
Juneja said this was disappointing considering the levels of engagement in politics by other means
“It’s really sad because we have such high levels of civic engagement when it comes to social media engagement, protest engagement,” he said. “ …When we want to have our voice heard, we are neglecting to put the connection between speaking and discourse to action.”