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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

New Study Cites Surge In Student Support for Dems

According to the first national post-election survey of student participation in the 2004 election, the era of student apathy is over and the Democratic Party is the big winner. The poll, conducted by Schneiders/Della Volpe/Schulman from November 9-19, found that 77 percent of college students nation-wide said they voted on November 2nd, and they voted for John Kerry by a margin of 55-41 percent.
The poll also found that 62 percent of the respondents said they encouraged or helped someone else to vote, nearly double the figure for 2000. Interestingly, two-thirds of the respondents were registered in their home town. However, the third who were registered in their college’s towns turned out to vote at a slightly higher rate. John Kerry received a healthy majority of all student major groups, except those who majored in education, 51 percent of whom voted for Bush.

5 comments on “New Study Cites Surge In Student Support for Dems

  1. EDM staff on

    Whoops. My bad. The correct Kerry margin of victory among college students was indeed 55-41 percent, not 62-27 percent (the figure for independents)and will be corrected.

  2. Bill C. on

    Actually, the results are not as sanguine as first reported. First, the margin for Kerry was actually 55-41, NOT 62-27% — that was the breakdown for independent voters. Second, the 77% turnout figure should be treated skeptically — survey respondents are notorious for saying they voted when they actually did not in order to appear socially desirable. Given the percentage of students in the 18-24 group that actually voted in 2004 (42%) and the percentage of this age group that attends college (two and four year), the turnout among non-college students in this age group would have to be VERY, VERY low for the numbers to add up. The social desirability explanation is likely particularly potent in 2004 given the stakes of the election and the strong outreach initiatives aimed at students. Finally, the education majors favoring Bush (5pts. higher than business majors?!?!) makes no sense and should not be taken seriously. It’s probably the result of sampling error due to the small sample for that subgroup (which is unreported in the news release).
    College campuses are certainly fertile ground for Democrats, and we should try hard to appeal to this demographic, but things are not quite as rosy as the post suggests.

  3. Ottnott on

    I had the same reaction as Josh–education?
    Random result?
    Teachers colleges clustered in strongly pro-Bush states?
    Remnants of “traditional” female career path?
    Inadvertent exposure of a hidden piece of the GOP’s plan to establish long-term political control?
    (I write that last one reluctantly at the urging of my tinfoil hat–the damn thing’s been more right than wrong the last 4 years)

  4. Josh Yelon on

    Education… voted for Bush? These are the future members of the teachers unions, the people who were screwed over by NCLB: what the heck? This is the *last* group I would have expected to vote for Bush. What about the business majors?


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