Poll: Majority of students back Obama

by Sarah Ferris

Media Credit: Graphic by Nick Rice

Support for former Gov. Mitt Romney has crept to a near-tie in recent weeks, but just one-fifth of GW students chose him as their top candidate, according to a Hatchet poll of more than 600 students last week.

About 68 percent of students polled around campus said they supported President Barack Obama in his reelection bid, with just over 20 percent favoring Romney. The remaining nearly 12 percent of students said they supported a third party candidate or did not support a candidate.

The poll, which included undergraduates and graduates, was conducted by Hatchet reporters who passed out surveys at locations across campus from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.94 percentage points.

About 45 percent of students ranked the economy and jobs as their most important concern. Social issues, like gay marriage and abortion, and foreign policy were considered the top issue for 30 percent and 13 percent of students, respectively.

Students who said they favored Romney overwhelmingly ranked the economy and jobs as their top issue, at 82 percent. About 12 percent of Romney backers identified foreign policy as their top issue, on par with percent of Obama supporters who prioritized the issue.

When asked about their political leanings, about 52 percent of respondents said they were liberal or very liberal, while 13 percent said they were conservative or very conservative.

Among the about 30 percent of voters who identified as moderates, 55 percent supported Obama – more than double the number of Romney supporters.

The top concern among self-identified Obama supporters is social issues, narrowly followed by the economy and jobs.

Nationwide, Obama and Romney are in a dead heat, with each candidate earning support from 48 percent of likely voters, according to a POLITICO-GW Battleground poll released Sunday.

A 2008 poll by The Hatchet that used similar methodology found that 74 percent of students favored Obama, with about 20 percent supporting McCain. It also found that more than half of students ranked the economy as the top issue, with foreign policy coming in second at 22 percent.

About 80 percent of students said they would vote in the election, higher than the 64 percent turnout rate of registered voters in the 2008 election. With its D.C. location and strong political science and public policy programs, GW is known nationally for drawing in aspiring politicos, featured annually in the Princeton Review list of most politically active colleges.

This article was updated Nov. 5, 2012 to reflect the following:

An earlier version of the graphic attributed voter information to the opposite candidates. It has been corrected online. The article also said GW annually earns a spot in U.S. News and World Report's most politically active rankings. The rankings are published by the Princeton Review.

View the policies on commenting here.

blog comments powered by Disqus