While less than a third of Cornellians surveyed in a poll conducted by The Sun last week said that they voted in the Democratic and Republican primaries, approximately three quarters of those students say they plan to vote in the general election.
Fifty-four women, 44 men and one gender-nonconforming respondent — including approximately 20 students from each class year, 11 graduate students and a several staff members — participated in the survey. Subjects were asked to complete an anonymous form presented to them at different locations around campus, including Statler Hall, Goldwin Smith Hall, Goldie’s Cafe and Mann Library.
Among the 99 students surveyed, 49 said they identified as Democrats, eight as Republicans, 11 as Independents, seven as third-party members and 22 said they are unaffiliated with any party.
General Election Results
Of the students who plan to vote in the general election, more than half say they plan to vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Only two students surveyed plan to vote for Republican nominee Donald Trump, five plan to vote for third-party candidates and 13 are still undecided.
The two Trump supporters are students in the School of Human Ecology and Architecture Art and Planning, respectively; both said they supported the candidate in the primary and identify as Republicans.
Three of the prospective third-party voters said they plan to vote for Gary Johnson, while two plan to vote for Jill Stein. The two Stein supporters identified as Democrats and voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the primaries, whereas the three Johnson supporters said they did not vote in the Republican primary.
The vast majority of the 17 students who do not plan to vote in the general election said they have decided not to participate because they are not politically involved.
However, not all of the students surveyed have decided whether or not they will vote, and some are still deciding which candidate to vote for. Of the 74 students who said they plan to vote, 13 specified that they are not sure which candidate to vote for and eight said they have not decided whether to vote or stay home on election day.
Less than a third of students surveyed voted in the primary election; 26 students said they did not vote in the primary due to difficulties submitting an absentee ballot.
Sixteen of these students said they did not vote in the primary because the absentee process seemed “too complicated,” while 10 said they “tried but were ultimately unable to submit their absentee ballots.”
Of the students who voted in the primary, nine did so via absentee ballot, nine voted at polling places in their hometowns and eight voted in Ithaca.
The majority of student primary voters — 17 of the 26 — cast their bids for candidates who did not win the primary. Fourteen of those primary voters identified as Democrats and had voted for Sanders; two Sanders supporters are voting third party and the remaining 12 reported that they plan to vote for Clinton.
The three remaining primary voters whose candidate did not win a party nomination were Republican voters who voted for candidates besides Trump. Of these three voters, one chose to vote for Gary Johnson and the others remain unsure who they plan to vote for.
With many speculating that undecided voters may decide this election, The Sun plans to conduct several follow-up surveys in the next six weeks to see if and how the percentage of undecided votes changes.
Rebecca Even ’18 and Henry Kanengiser ’18 contributed reporting to this story.