Thankfully for President Bush, Tuesday's presidential election will not be confined to the Ivy League. For if that were the case, Bush's chief rival, Democratic Presidential Candidate Bill Clinton would trounce the President by 48 percentage points, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian/Ivy League poll conducted by seven of the eight Ivy League newspapers last week. Polling 1,803 students out of a total undergraduate population of about 40,000 students, the poll found that Bush would garner just 17 percent of the student vote. Sixty-five percent of the students polled said they would vote for Clinton if the election were held today. In a setting where registered independents outnumber Republicans by 50 percent, it would be difficult for Bush to win. Independent Candidate Ross Perot, however, fares even worse than Bush, the Ivy poll indicates. Sampling 4.5 percent of the total Ivy League undergraduate population at seven Ivies, the poll found that Perot would win just seven percent of the vote. Only at the University does Perot break into double digits. If any single trend seems to jump off the page, it is the fact that students seem committed to their candidates. Just nine percent were undecided about who they would vote for at the time of the poll. The poll also indicates that the University is the most politically conservative school in the Ivy League. Of the University students polled, 20 percent said they would vote for Bush and 23 percent said they had registered as Republicans. And Bush would lose by just 30 percent to Clinton. A defeat by 30 percentage points may seem devastating, but, when compared to several of the other Ivy League schools, such a loss would is mild for Bush. The poll indicates that at Brown University, Clinton would win by 70 percent. At Harvard University, Bush could expect to lose by 60 percent. And in a comparatively competitive race, Bush would lose by 55 percent at Yale University. Brown appears to be the most liberal school in the Ivies, while the University and Princeton University are nearer to the conservative end of the political spectrum. Of the three responses in the poll -- not important, somewhat important or very important -- at least 90 percent of the students polled last week said that each of the five issues asked about was either somewhat or very important in influencing their decision. But most important in their minds were concerns about education and the job market. Across the Ivy League, at least 67 percent of the students polled said that the candidates' stands on the economy were "very important" in their decision. And 72 percent of the students said education will play a "very important" role in their decision when they step into the voting booth on Tuesday. Shawn Landres, a junior at Columbia University and national steering chairperson of Students for Clinton/Gore, said this week that he is not surprised by the results of the DP/Ivy poll. "Students are very concerned about the economy," he said. "People come up to me and say 'I don't know what I'm going to do when I get out of here.' " Landres, who also lobbies on behalf of students for financial aid, said that "more student financial aid is a major concern of students on campus." The poll shows that students place health care issues last among the list of concerns they have. At Princeton University, only six percent of the students polled felt that the health care issue was "very important" in their decision, although 75 percent said it will influence their decision in some way. "Students have a sense of immortality," Landres said. "They ask 'Why do I need health insurance?' " The DP/Ivy Poll may confirm what many believe about universities -- that they are more liberal that the rest of society. But Ashley Heyer, a member of Columbia's College Republicans, criticized the poll, saying that the questions brought out issues on which Clinton is strong and ignored Bush's strengths. "I think it is really sad that you didn't say anything about international relations [in the poll]," Heyer said. "You didn't ask about international relations, international trade, and character." Heyer said she feels support for Clinton is especially weak at Columbia and that students are only expressing support for Clinton out of protest against Bush. She said that at Columbia, "where people will protest or rally for anything," rallies for Clinton have only drawn 200 people in the past several weeks.Comments powered by Disqus
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