By Erin Shanahan
More than half, or 58 percent, of Fordham’s democratic students are in favor of candidate Bernie Sanders while 63 percent of Fordham Republicans support Marco Rubio, according to a joint poll conducted by United Student Government (USG), Fordham Political Review, Fordham University College Republicans and College Democrats. In total, the results of the poll suggest that 29 percent of the total campus supports Sanders while 28 percent supports Rubio.
To assess the current political climate of Fordham students at Rose Hill, the four political organizations collaborated for Voter Education Week.
USG members, College Democrats and College Republicans polled random students walking into the McGinley Center this past Monday. In addition, an online survey was sent to “The Big Four” student organizations on campus (Residence Hall Association, Commuter Student Alliance, Campus Activities Board and United Student Government) as well as the College Democrats and College Republicans.
USG’s Vice President of Gabelli School of Business, Salvatore Cocchiaro, GSB ’17, was unsurprised by the students’ varied responses after collecting and analyzing the data.
“[The results] really shine a light on multitude of opinions and beliefs that we have as a community here at Fordham University.”
Responses indicated a relatively even mix of candidate support, with the exception of republican candidate Ted Cruz. Only about seven percent of Fordham’s Republican voters support Cruz, contrary to RealClearPolitics (RCP) average poll from the last two weeks of February which predicts Cruz winning 20 percent of the national Grand Old Party vote.
“Obviously, the bulk of our students ‘Feel The Bern,’ which is expected given Bernie’s success across the board with millennial voters,” Cocchiaro said. The results of the poll suggest that about 29 percent of the campus supports Sanders.
However, republican candidate Marco Rubio comes in as a close second. The data suggests that about 28 percent of the campus supports Rubio.
“On the surface, Rubio separated from Sanders in second by a razor-thin percentage may seem to be unusual for a college campus,” Cocchiaro said. “But when you factor in the Gabelli School of Business and its presumably republican-leaning base, it isn’t all that surprising.”
Cocchiaro found that the larger number of republican students here at Fordham is due to the school’s Catholic, Jesuit tradition and large business student population.
Among university democrats, Sanders holds 58 percent of Fordham’s democratic vote while the remaining 42 percent support candidate Hillary Clinton. These numbers are actually more Clinton-favorable than in the RealClearPolitics national poll, which found Clinton holding about 50 percent of the national democratic vote. In addition, the support for Sanders here on campus bests his 40 percent supporters nationwide according to the RCP.
Among Fordham republicans, Rubio outshined his polling numbers with 63 percent of Grand Old Party support at Rose Hill. This is in great opposition to the nationwide poll according to the RCP, where Rubio is in at just 17 percent.
“It appears to me that his youth and demeanor, relative to his peers, resonates better with our group of students,” Cocchiaro said.
Donald Trump and Ted Cruz underperformed at Rose Hill, receiving only 30 percent and seven percent of the campus republicans’ support, respectively. National polling averages predict these two candidates performing strongly, winning 36 percent and 20 percent of that national vote, respectively.
John Kasich was not included in this analysis due to his relative unpopularity nationally at the time of the poll’s creation. However, the four political groups on campus now seem to regret not having included this candidate.
“I wish we would have included John Kasich because of his recent surge in the poll and his rising popularity among Fordham students,” said Sebastian Albrecht, FCRH ‘17, president of Fordham’s College Republicans and a USG senator. “But the poll was created before this ‘#Kasmentum.’”
The two parts of the poll, which was comprised of 357 results across the online poll and in-person survey, seemed to be consistent with one another for the most part.
“The biggest differences between the two would have to be in terms of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,” Cocchiaro said.
Clinton’s share of the in-person vote was 15 percent, whereas online she captured 23 percent of the vote. On the contrary, Donald Trump fared much better in-person. In person, Trump received 18 percent of the vote, but online his numbers fell to 11 percent.
The club leaders who organized the poll applauded the result of their relatively unprecedented collaboration.
“It was great to see both political clubs work together to get Fordham students interested in the 2016 election,” Albrecht said. “I am proud of the great working relationship between College Republicans and College Democrats, especially in comparison to the great divide between both parties on the national level. The voter’s education week was a great first step into getting students excited for this presidential election.”
In addition to polling, Voter Education Week consisted of several other events. These events included “An Evening with Rob Astorino,” “Super Tuesday Watch Party,” as well as three different voter registration drives. This voter registration drive was inspired by millennials low voter turnout but large political outcry, according to Matthew. J Santucci, FCRH ‘18, president of the College Democrats of Fordham University.
“The purpose of the voter registration event was to gauge and galvanize political involvement on campus,” said Santucci. “Despite having helped 25 students register, many students displayed a general indifference towards the political process. It’s our hope that students do realize that voting isn’t arbitrary and that their vote does hold weight.”
Cocchiaro agreed. “You matter. Your opinion matters. Your vote matters,” he said. “Go out there, learn about the problems we face, make an educated vote and encourage others around you to do the same.”
Out-of-state students are able to vote in their home states’ primaries through absentee voting. rules regarding absentee voting. New York students are to register before March 25 in order to participate in the primary on April 19.