By Austin Salnitis
Despite being largely frustrated with the election, the majority of Central Connecticut State University students support Hillary Clinton for president.
A representative survey conducted by CCSU journalism students found that Hillary Clinton controlled 46.9 percent of the vote compared to Donald Trump’s 14.9 percent, while 26.3 percent remain undecided. When only given the option between Clinton and Trump, three quarters of those surveyed opted for Clinton.
Although a total of 273 surveys were collected, some were not complete. When asked whom they would vote for on that day, a total of 228 answered. When only given the two options, that number dropped to 212. The lack of participation may have to do how the students feel about this election.
Most students associated negative feelings with the election. Frustration, anxiety, and embarrassment were among the most common responses from 203 students, when asked to describe this year’s election. Although a select few found the process to be entertaining and even comical, many expressed strong disappointment and even went so far as to use profanity.
“I was a little surprised to see such a high percentage of undecided students,” said Dr. Diana Cohen, a political science professor at CCSU. “My theory regarding why so many students are undecided is that both candidates have major negatives. Further, the extreme negativity in this race is unappealing to many.” Cohen suggested the possibility of the undecided students being “tuned out” due to disdain for both candidates.
SGA Senator and President of CCSU College Democrats, Wyatt Bosworth was also surprised. “It doesn’t reflect the national attitude. I think a lot of those students are either upset about their options or are simply indifferent to both options.”
CCSU journalism student, Michael Robitaille, who was one of many to administer the survey said, “I’m not at all shocked by how many students are undecided. Some were even proud of the fact that they won’t be voting in November. It may not be the best option, but it definitely says something about the choices our students are facing.”
Another noteworthy finding of the survey is the lack of a gender gap. While women on campus were 10 percent more likely than men to vote for Clinton, surveys and polls from around the country were reporting figures more than twice that. “Circumstances have changed since your survey was distributed. Given how front-and-center gender issues have been in the past week, the gender gap has most certainly grown,” said Dr. Cohen.
The gender gap may continue to grow following the “Trump tape” and subsequent sexual assault allegations. “A lot of Bernie Sanders supporters I know have come around to Hillary because Donald Trump is that bad,” said Bosworth. With 26 percent of undecided students having supported Bernie Sanders, some of his followers are still up for grabs.
The results of this survey cannot be used to generalize any population other than CCSU students. The objective of the survey was not to draw any conclusions but to get a better understanding of how the students are feeling. The journalism students were able to do that through an intercept method.
Essentially, an intercept survey is conducted by approaching random people in a given area. In this case they were stationed in high traffic areas such as dining halls, larger academic buildings, and even parking garages during peak hours. Those administering the survey did so from Sept. 27-29, following the first presidential debate with each person collecting 25-30 surveys. Although there are many challenges with accurately representing a population through a survey, the results closely match the campus demographics.