What Do Students Think About the Presidential Election?

Brady Scobert and Aidan Lewis, Journalists

On November 3rd, millions of people across the country will vote to decide who will hold the office of the President of the United States. Although many students cannot vote, most of us have opinions on who we believe should hold that position. With the election nearing, the country has been flooded with many important issues that we face moving forwards. We wanted to discover our classmates’ points of view on these issues facing our nation and who they believed was fit for the Oval Office. To achieve this, we polled over 100 students attending the high school. This is what we learned.

First, we would like to acknowledge the flaws with our polling attempts. Volunteer sampling can create inherent biases because in surveys using volunteer sampling, only those who choose to will share their opinion. We would also like to acknowledge that although over 100 students is a good number of participants, the lack of randomization within those students can also create bias within data. With that being said, we also believe that even though our data should be taken with a pinch of salt, many of the trends are equal to what we got from the limited number of students we surveyed by hand.

88% of the students we polled said they would vote for Joe Biden, but we also learned from analyzing the data that a large portion of people who would vote for Trump don’t agree with many policies of the administration. Half of all our Trump voters said they believe in Medicare For All or a public option for health insurance. This is in stark contrast to Donald Trump himself who said of Biden, “When he says public option, he’s talking about Socialized Medicine.” Similarly, when asked about free public higher education which is considered a initiative of the left, 55% of Trump supporters said that they were in favor of state colleges being free. 

After we realized this trend, we wanted to know why that was the case, so we interviewed a student who says he would vote for Trump. When we asked him the question about the public option he said, “I think public healthcare (is good) because Canada has been doing that a while and they’re doing pretty good, why not take a few pointers from up north?” Again, this is very different from Trump who called the Canadian system “catastrophic” in 2016. I asked him why he supports Trump and he told me, “I would vote for Trump because I like his message… his real message is he wants to make America great.”

After talking to a few more Trump supporters, the reason behind the trend became apparent: the students voting for Trump were voting less for the policies the administration supports, and more for what they believe the president stands for. During our interviews, those who said they would vote for Trump often weren’t completely sure where they stood on many issues, but when asked about why they were voting for Trump they often stated things about how he has “shook up the establishment” and how “his real message is to make America great again.” There was also another feeling amongst the Trump supporters we interviewed. They all had an underdog mentality. They acknowledged that they had a feeling that most of the school was voting for Biden, but they seemed to find pride in being contrarian. 

The contrast between Trump and Biden supporters seemed to run deeper than just polices and into what an individual values in the person who will be in charge of the United States.