Barbara Esuoso / Sun Staff Writer

October 25, 2016

Sun Survey Shows Sanders Supporters’ Embrace of Clinton

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While Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) received the largest number of primary votes in last week’s student survey conducted by The Sun, the majority of students said they will now vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the general election.

Less than half the students surveyed in a second poll conducted last week said they voted in the primaries, but nearly 85 percent of those students said they plan to vote in the general election.

Fifty-seven women and 61 men — including approximately 25 students from each undergraduate class, 10 graduate students and one staff member — participated in this second round of election polling. Participants were asked to fill out anonymous surveys at several locations around campus, including Statler Hall, Mann Library and the Green Dragon.

Of the 118 students surveyed, 57 identified as Democrat, 14 as Republican, 17 as Independent and 30 as unaffiliated. This voter distribution differs slightly from last month’s survey, in which 49 of the 99 students identified as Democrat, 8 as Republican, 11 as Independent and 13 as undecided.

Primary Voters

Three times as many students voted in the Democratic primary as in the Republican primary, but the majority of students said they did not vote at all in the primary.

Thirty of the 45 students who voted in the Democratic primary voted for Sanders, 14 for Clinton and one for former Gov. Martin O’Mally (D-MD).

Of the 13 republicans who cast ballots in the primary election, Trump and Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) tied for the most votes.


Of the students who said they did not vote in the primary, 21 said they were not registered for either major party and 13 said they had little interest in voting. Seven students said they were not 18 at the time of their state primary.

Nineteen students said they did not vote in the primary due to the complicated process of acquiring an absentee ballot. Nine of those students said they tried to submit absentee ballots but were “ultimately unable to.”

General Election

Of the 98 students who intend to vote in the general election, 71 percent said they will cast ballots for Clinton, eight percent for Trump, 11 percent for a third party, eight percent undecided and two percent for a write-in candidate.

Last week’s survey revealed a decrease in the number of undecided students since the first election poll, with the number of voters who will vote in the general election increasing from 10 to 17 percent.

Of the 30 students who indicated that they had voted for Sanders in the primary, 21 said they intend to vote for Clinton, six for Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, and three remain undecided.


Of the nine students who voted in the Republican primary for candidates other than Trump, only three said they intend to vote for Trump in the general election. Two former Kasich supporters and one former Rubio supporter said they will vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, one Rubio supporter is undecided and one intends to vote for a write-in candidate.

Additionally, 40 students who did not vote in the primary said they intend to vote in the general election. Most of them plan to vote for Clinton.

Twelve students indicated that the candidate they intend to vote for has changed since the beginning of the presidential debates last month. A former Trump supporter said he has since realized that “Trump is not a viable presidential model.”

As a result of the debates, two students indicated they will no longer vote for either Trump or Clinton due to a “lack of trust in either party candidate.” Meanwhile, several others have switched their stance to support the two major party candidates.

The Sun intends to conduct a survey to see if the number of undecided voters decreases over the next two weeks, as the general election approaches, and one final survey after the election has concluded.

Barbara Esuoso ’19, Rebecca Even ’18, Drew Musto ’19, Henry Kanengiser ’18 contributed reporting.

  • Wave b-b-b-bye

    If you embrace Clinton after staunchly supporting Sanders, then you never truly understood what Sanders was fighting for in the first place.

    He represents the antithesis of the blatantly corrupt Clinton dynasty…a distinction made even more poignant by his heartbreaking embrace of a careerist who has been revealed time and time again to be an opportunistic sociopath.

    South Park really had it right. Giant Douche/Turd Sandwich ’16.

  • Reality Check

    What’s the statistical validity of a survey including 118 responses within a 22K population, especially when its grad-student segment is just 10% while grads represent a third of the student body? What’s the significance of response location? And why include just one staff member?

    • Exit_Pursued_by_a_Bear

      Hi, in response to your question about the statistical validity of a poll like this, the big take away point is pretty safe, namely that Cornell undergrads significantly prefer Clinton. You are right that the sample size of grad students and staff are too small to say anything definitively about those segments of the Cornell population, but they only constitute 11 total people in the sample leaving 107 valid responses from undergrads.

      One thing you seem misinformed about, is that for a sample to be large enough to be statistically valid, that depends only on the size of the sample, the size of the total population is irrelevant as long as you draw randomly from it. So the 22K in the community is unimportant. The difference in sample size between this poll and something like the gallup national tracking poll will effect the size of the margin of error. A typical national poll may have a 3% to 5% margin of error. This would poll would be a lot larger than that, but with Clinton leading the next largest category (third party) by a ration of over 5 to 1 the conclusion of who is ahead among Cornell undergrads is pretty safe.

      • Econ Alum

        I love when people drop a little stats knowledge on articles like these. Keep doing good work.