While the Iowa Caucus will not be held for another five months, the presidential election looks to be one of the more interesting and pivotal elections in recent memory. From the email scandals plaguing Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to the early Republican emergence of Donald Trump who finally gave the GOP his loyalty pledge after threatening to run as an independent, it would be difficult to make the upcoming election more interesting.
So far, the students of New College – the Princeton Review’s fourth most politically active student body – hold steadfast in their views. The Catalyst compared results from a poll first conducted by the newspaper during the spring 2015 semester and again this month. While the results of the most recent survey, which asked students about the 2016 presidential elections, were very similar to the results of the original, there were a few possibly meaningful points to be made about the changes from one survey to the next.
In the first question, “Who is your personal favorite candidate [for the 2016 presidential election]?” Clinton’s numbers fell from 18.03 percent to 12.63 percent, keeping her the distant second to the rising Bernie Sanders. Sanders’ numbers grew from an already leading 52.46 percent to an astounding 64.21 percent. No other candidate exceeded 8 percent on the question. Only Joe Biden (who has yet to declare for the election), at 7.37 percent, came close. Biden received 9.84 percent in the first survey.
Despite Bernie Sander’s popularity at New College, his ability to win has been a concern among skeptics, evidenced by the results of the second question, which asked students “Which candidate do you think will win [the 2016 presidential election]?” Here, Clinton’s and Sanders’ percentages flip-flop. Whereas in the first question – “Who is your personal favorite candidate [for the 2016 presidential election]?” – Sanders is the clear winner at 64.21 percent compared to Clinton’s 12.63 percent, 65.59 percent of students surveyed felt that Clinton would be the eventual winner of the election. By comparison, only 13.98 percent thought that Sanders would prevail in 2016. Behind Clinton and Sanders dominating the second question, Jeb Bush is the only Republican candidate who had higher than 5 percent, with 9.68 percent voting that he will win the election.
Despite flip-flopping results there is only one option that the students of New College can pessimistically agree on. In the third question of the surveys, “Who do you think will be the biggest loser of the 2016 presidential election?” the American people were given a resounding 58.76 percent.
“The 2016 election is incredibly important for our country. If the most important issue concerning my vote were to be who best represents my opinions? My answer would have to be Bernie Sanders,” second-year Carl Romer said. “However, if the issue is who is electable, who do I believe can best represent issues that are important to me, and who has the best chance of pushing forward these policies through Congress, my answer would be Hillary Clinton.”
Romer’s statement displays the idea that with both the House of Representatives and the Senate being led by Republicans, legislature might be tough to pass as a Democratic candidate, especially legislature from a Democratic candidate as liberal as Sanders. While it remains to be seen whether or not Sanders would have trouble pushing his policies through Congress, some skeptics and Clinton supporters will point to her body of political work with both parties as evidence of her having an upper hand.
“Bush is raising a lot of money, don’t be fooled into thinking that he’s somehow losing to Donald Trump right now, if we judged candidates based on their polling numbers now we would have had Republican nominee Herman Cain,” Romer said. “Bush isn’t even trying right now and yet he is far outpacing all other candidates in fundraising. If I were a betting man I’d say that it’s going to be a close race between Bush and Clinton, but if Bush is able to effectively convince Latinos that he is on their side, as he’s been positioning himself to do, I think the election is his.”
With the election still a little over a year away, everything is up in the air, and how it all falls into place will be exciting to see.