Daily poll finds students support Kerry, Edwards

by Stephanie Kudrle

According to respondents of a recent poll conducted by The Minnesota Daily, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., should be the country’s next president.

The survey found that if the presidential election were held now on campus, 68 percent of respondents would vote for the Democratic Kerry-Edwards ticket. Twenty-nine percent would vote for Republicans Bush-Cheney, and the rest would vote for Independents Nader-Camejo.

The e-mail poll had a 19 percent response rate, which is low and makes the data harder to analyze, University political science professor and political analyst Larry Jacobs said.

But Jacobs said the findings of the survey were consistent with other surveys conducted in recent months, particularly the findings that students lean toward the Democratic Party.

“The younger cohort is strongly favoring Kerry and (Sen. John) Edwards,” Jacobs said. “Even though the survey is not representative of all students, it is consistent with evidence in other surveys.”

He said the numbers for Bush-Cheney seemed a little low.

“The numbers tilt heavier towards Kerry than probably exists in the state,” Jacobs said.

But students said they thought those numbers seemed about right.

“I think it’s accurate. I think it’s because we’re college kids. Older people vote for (President George W.) Bush,” junior elementary education major Adam Schmidt said.

“(Bush) plays the war card a lot and that’s what gets people pissed,” Schmidt said.

Other students thought the results seemed a little different than reality, because some students haven’t made up their minds yet.

“My friend has a poster that says ‘Undecided vote for Kerry,’ ” first-year student Emily Marshall said.

With Minnesota up for grabs in this election, both Democrats and Republicans have been targeting the state for their campaigns.

However, Jacobs said the college students who responded to the survey are probably set in their choices.

“These students aren’t going to change their minds,” he said. “These are the students who live for politics. They made up their mind a long time ago.”

Jacobs also said that is why the survey found 78 percent of respondents were registered to vote. That percentage is higher than the general population, he said.

University sophomore Michelle Royzman agreed.

“People that are going to vote are more likely to answer the poll,” Royzman said.

The survey also found that Democratic and Republican respondents are equally as likely to vote for the other party’s candidates.

Jacobs said he was a little surprised by that result.

“It’s more likely to see Democrats defecting from their party,” he said. “But Democrats appear to be more unified this year by strong reaction against the president.”

When asked which political party the respondents identified with the most, 30 percent identified themselves as Republicans, 53 percent said they were Democrats, 12 percent were Green Party supporters and 5 percent were Independents.

Students tend to support the Green Party and Independent Party, Jacobs said. However, he was surprised Independent candidate Ralph Nader only received support from 3 percent of respondents.

“Democrats and liberals are intent on getting Bush out of office,” he said. “You tend to see youth favoring the Independent Party a bit more, but that’s not translating to direct support in the election.”

The poll was conducted from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1. The invitation to participate in the survey was sent to the University e-mail addresses of a random sample of 3,000 students registered during the spring 2004 semester.

-Tatum Fjerstad contributed to this article