Students weigh in on 2016 election with Google poll

Guilford College will likely vote blue this November.

According to a student election poll conducted by The Guilfordian from Oct. 17 to Oct. 28, 72.2 percent of students said they would vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the United States presidential election. Republican candidate Donald Trump and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson were runner-ups, with 9.3 percent of respondents each.

Using Google Forms, The Guilfordian received 54 student responses to its online survey. Students were asked about demographic information, political affiliations and who they would vote for in the presidential race. They were also asked to rank the importance of several issues discussed during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In some ways, the sample The Guilfordian gathered reflects the diversity of the student population at large. The students who took the poll come from a range of economic backgrounds, living in households earning less than $25,000 a year to more than $200,000. Moreover, 59.3 percent of respondents identified as women.

However, 85.2 percent of respondents identified as white and 81.5 percent were traditional students. These figures do not accurately reflect the nature of the student body.

According to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, Guilford had a total enrollment of 2,002 during the spring semester of 2015, therefore the results and conclusions of The Guilfordian’s survey, given such a small sample size, are not strictly scientific.

With this in mind, the results do indicate political trends among the student body.

On personal and social issues, 72.2 percent of students classified their political beliefs as “consistently liberal” and 16.7 percent said they “lean liberal.”

On economic issues, nearly 13 percent of respondents said their beliefs “lean conservative” or are “consistently conservative,” while 14.8 percent classified their beliefs as “moderate.”

When asked about political affiliations, 46.3 percent of students said they associated with the Democratic Party, and 42.6 percent said they were unaffiliated or independent.

Affiliated respondents almost always stuck with their party’s ticket. Among unaffiliated and independent students, 69.6 percent said they would vote for Clinton and 13 percent said they would choose Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Students were given a list of 12 issues and asked to rate each topic’s importance to them on a scale from “very important” to “very unimportant.”

Forty-one students, nearly 76 percent of people polled, said the issue of “race and racism” was “very important” to them, the most of any topic. When respondents’ rankings were weighted, “race and racism” and “education” were the most important to students. The issue of “terrorism” was the least important.

All but one respondent said they were a U.S. citizen. Forty-nine said they were registered to vote, while four were not and one was unsure.

When divided by discipline, 81.8 percent of students majoring in humanities and arts said they would vote for Clinton. Only 55.6 percent of math and science majors, on the other hand, would do the same.

On Nov. 8, tens of millions of Americans will flock to polling places across the nation to choose, among other things, the next president of the United States. As of Oct. 31, according to an average of polling data compiled by Real Clear Politics, Clinton led Trump by 3.1 percent nationwide.