With election day approaching, many Dartmouth students are deliberating over candidates before they cast their ballots -- most have decided in favor of Clinton and many said education policy decided their vote, according to a recent poll conducted by The Dartmouth.
According to the poll, 64 percent of Dartmouth students supported President Bill Clinton in the presidential election while 28 percent favored Senator Bob Dole and four percent were undecided. Only two students supported business tycoon Ross Perot.
The Dartmouth sent confidential e-mail polls to 1,800 students and 532 responded between Nov. 1 and Nov. 3.
Comparison to other schools
Dartmouth students' support of Clinton was similar to results found in polls conducted by other Ivy League schools, but Dartmouth students' support of Dole was higher and that of Perot slightly lower.
At Cornell University, 59 percent of students polled favored Clinton and 20 percent said they will vote for Dole.
About 68 percent of Harvard University students supported Clinton while about 15 percent said they will vote for Dole and half a percent favored Perot.
At Yale University, Clinton garnered support from 70 percent of students polled. Dole was favored by 21 percent and Perot garnered support from four percent.
What students think
The Dartmouth's poll results showed greater support for Clinton than the latest Gallup Poll, which shows Clinton favored by 50 percent of Americans polled, Dole by 37 percent and Perot by 7 percent.
Of those who responded to The Dartmouth's poll, 89 percent said they were eligible to vote in the U.S.
Many students said they would not vote because they forgot to obtain or never received their absentee ballots. About 14 percent of students eligible to vote said they will not cast their ballots while 86 percent said they were planning to vote.
Of those who said they were planning to vote in the presidential election, 25 percent said they were voting in New Hampshire and 75 percent said they were voting absentee.
Clinton garnered support from students interested in education and abortion while Dole gained support from students interested in issues of character and taxes. Votes were split among students who said the economy was the main factor in their voting decision.
The main concern of Dartmouth students polled was education and nearly all of the 24 percent of students who listed that issue as the most important issue favored Clinton.
Almost all of the 8 percent who selected abortion as the single most important issue in the election favored Clinton.
Of the 7 percent of students who said the environment was important, nearly all supported Clinton.
Almost all of the students who selected the issues of women's rights and gay and lesbian issues as top priority were also in favor of Clinton.
But most of the students who selected character as their top priority were in support of Dole. About 18 percent of students said character was most important to them.
About 7 percent of students said taxes were the election priority, and almost all favored Dole.
Approximately 16 percent of students said the economy was the most important issue and 9 percent said a balanced budget was most important to them.
Other issues of importance to students in the election are immigration, gay and lesbian issues, affirmative action, welfare, party loyalty, social programs and crime.
The Dartmouth poll revealed some students were not in favor of any of the three top candidates that national polls focus on.
Four students supported Libertarian Harry Browne. Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin '76 garnered support from three people. Two backed Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.
Student and faculty commentary
Students and faculty interviewed by The Dartmouth said the economy and moral issues steered their votes.
Government Professor Consta-ntine Spiliotes listed economic issues such as tax policies and balancing the budget as the most important issue in the 1996 presidential campaign.
"The economy is the issue of this election," Spiliotes said. "The difference between the 15 percent tax cut and the targeted tax cut distinguishes the two parties."
"I think the economy can do a lot better because I read a report about the economy and it said basically Americans have to work two jobs and that's not exactly a good economy," Vincent Leung '00 said. "I would probably vote for Dole because of integrity and economy," Leung said.
Jay Liu '99 said he would vote for Clinton because he is "morally aligned with Clinton. Dole doesn't really strike me as somebody who'll help America."
Elizabeth Wald '00 said, "I knew that Bill Clinton was going to win anyway but I realized that I couldn't respect myself if I voted for Clinton so I decided to vote Dole because I agree with his moral issues ... [such as] abortion, homosexual and family."
Some students showed a lack of interest in the political scene due to Hanover's remoteness.
"I haven't been keeping up so I am not qualified to make any judgments," Marcos Leiva '00 said.