A plurality of students in a recent Archway Newspaper poll say they plan to vote for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential election. The poll of 114 Bryant students, taken in the week prior to the first Presidential debate, also reveals strong support for the Libertarian and Green party candidates.
Thirty-five percent of respondents say they plan to vote for Hillary Clinton, finishing ahead of Republican rival Donald Trump, who received twenty-six percent. Although Hillary Clinton was found to be students’ top choice, her thirty-five percent support indicates students on campus are not unified around one candidate, and that a considerable amount of students are opting for third party candidates.
Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson finished strong, courting nineteen percent support, enough for third place. Green party candidate Jill Stein earned six percent. Thirteen percent of respondents indicated they had no preference, or were still undecided.
Strong numbers for Johnson and Stein reveal the student body is largely dissatisfied with their major-party nominees. As a result, both Johnson and Stein significantly outperformed their national poll numbers, while Clinton and Trump underperformed their national poll numbers.
Furthermore, the major party candidates’ favorability ratings reflect widespread dissatisfaction among the student body. Only twenty-five percent of respondents indicated they view Hillary Clinton favorably, with sixty-eight percent viewing her unfavorably. Republican nominee Donald Trump’s numbers are similarly poor. Just twenty-six percent of Bryant students polled said they view Donald Trump favorably, with seventy-two percent indicating they view him unfavorably.
These favorability ratings offer us the best insight into overall student sentiment. For example, many students who took the poll have unfavorable views of both major party candidates. Forty percent of students polled indicated they view both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton unfavorably, while only a single student polled indicated they view both candidates favorably.
Student attitudes of Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were more favorable. Gary Johnson boasts the best favorability rating of the four candidates. Forty percent view the former New Mexico governor as favorable, the highest number of any candidate. Only ten percent of students polled view him unfavorably. Fifty percent had no opinion. Jill Stein’s favorability ratings place her slightly under water, but not nearly to the degree of the major party candidates. Forteen percent of Bryant students polled view Jill Stein as favorable, with seventeen percent viewing her as unfavorable. Sixty-nine percent of students
polled have no opinion of her.
While both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton didn’t draw large support, our poll did indicate many students who view these candidates unfavorably plan to reluctantly vote for them anyway. Surprisingly, eighteen percent of students who indicated they are voting for Hillary Clinton also view her unfavorably. Similarly, seventeen percent of students who indicated they plan to vote for Donald Trump also view him unfavorably.
While the poll was exclusively taken before the first debate, it still provided a gauge of the overall sentiment of the student body. The main takeaways from this poll are that students are largely dissatisfied with their choices, and as a result, are supporting third party candidates in higher numbers. Furthermore, the candidate’s favorability ratings show us that students are very unhappy with the major party candidates, yet remain somewhat apathetic to Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.
While student opinion still may change before Election Day, these poll numbers support the broader narrative that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are failing to unify young people around their campaigns.