Trine University Students Prefer Romney

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Angola Herald Republican
Trine students prefer Romney for president
By Mike Marturello mikem@kpcnews.net
Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 3:43pm
ANGOLA — Trine University students favor former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney,
Republican, over Democratic President Barack Obama in the upcoming election, poll results
released Tuesday said.
Those are the results of a poll conducted Thursday through Sunday by Trine Marketing 463
students. Only Trine students were polled, and the survey had a margin of error of just about plus
or minus 6 percentage points. The data was analyzed by Trine statistics students.
“The Trine student poll clearly underscores how close this presidential election will be. The poll
also shows how active and engaged Trine students are. Trine students are more conservative and
pro-Romney than the national average for their age group. Trine students are also much more
likely to vote,” said Mark Helmke, professor of strategic communications at the Trine Ketner
School of Business.
Up to 340 students were randomly polled by students in Professor Roberto Soto’s marketing
class. The data was analyzed by statistics students taught by Professor Marek Kolar.
“Twenty Trine University juniors and seniors, who signed up for my marketing research course,
were recruited for a class project and assigned to survey a random sample of students to learn
more about their political preferences. My class has been told that since their complied data will
be shared with local media, it should be viewed as writing the first draft of history and as such,
must be taken very seriously,” Soto said.
Of 264 students polled about their preference for president, 57.95 percent favored Romney with
36.36 for Obama. Third party candidates drew 5.68 percent while there were 45 students who
were undecided.
In a sample of 340 students, 47.35 percent classified themselves as conservative, 34.12 percent
as moderate and 18.53 percent as liberal. The margin of error was about plus or minus 5
percentage points.
Most of the students, nearly 77 percent, have decided whom they will vote for. About 83 percent
of the students have yet to vote and 88 percent say they either have voted or plan to vote. The
margin of error for these questions ran between about plus or minus 3.5 percentage points and
plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Helmke, a former adviser to Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said the poll results are reflective of this
area.
“A significant majority of Trine’s students come from a 70-mile radius of Angola. In 2004,
President George W. Bush won those counties in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan with at least 65
percent of the overall vote. In 2008, Sen. (John) McCain carried these counties with an average
of 55 percent, which was not by enough to offset the larger Democratic vote in the urban areas of
Indiana, Ohio and Michigan,” Helmke said.
The results of the poll show that Trine students are more conservative than are their counterparts
elsewhere, Helmke said.
“The most recent national Pew Research poll released this week shows President Obama getting
56 percent of the 18- to 29-year-old youth vote, and Gov. Romney receiving 35 percent,”
Helmke said. “These numbers indicate shrinking support for the president among young voters.
A 2008 Pew exit poll had Obama beating McCain 66 percent to 32 percent among young
voters.”
A story Sunday in the Indianapolis Star said more young voters showed up at the polls nationally
in 2008 than they did in the previous two presidential elections.
Turnout among voters ages 18-29 was about 51 percent in 2008, which was 11 percent higher
than the 2000 presidential election and about 2 percent higher than in 2004, said the Star story,
citing the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts
University.
Gerald Wright, a political science professor at Indiana University, said students at the
Bloomington university were solidly Democratic in the 2008 election.
“So if they turn out, they could be a real factor because they’re probably 2-to-1 voting and
supporting Democrats,” Wright told the Star.
But that was then and this is now, and the young vote is expected to drop off.
A report released by the Center for the American Electorate said youth voter turnout is predicted
to drop significantly in this election, due partly to the decline in political interest among young
people. Voter turnout for the 2008 election was the highest since 1960.
It is not known how the youth vote impacted local results in 2008, but just watching the returns
told Helmke what was going to happen in that election.
“When I saw that Steuben County reported at 6:15 p.m. on election night that McCain only
received 53 percent of the vote, I predicted Obama would become the first Democrat to carry
Indiana since 1964 and win the presidency,” Helmke said.
And Obama did.
The Trine poll numbers might show promise overall for Romney in Indiana, Helmke said.
What will happen on Tuesday is anybody’s guess, but Soto hopes the Trine polling project
provided students a glimpse of how the process works.
“This particular research course is designed to study techniques and approaches associated with
researching specific topics,” Soto said. “These include consumer research, market analysis,
product research, advertising research, sales analysis and polling of potential voters during this
most expensive and politically charged presidential campaign.”
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