Poll: Assembly races are tight

by Jeffrey Tanenhaus | 4/16/99 5:00am

The final weekend of campaigning will likely decide the Student Assembly elections for president and vice president, as a poll conducted by The Dartmouth during the past two days indicates there is no clear front-runner in either race.

According to the poll, the Assembly's presidency is up for grabs, with Dean Krishna '01 leading the race with 27 percent of the respondents' approval, followed closely by write-in candidate Drew Pluhar '00 with 19 percent, Jack-O-Lantern candidate Roshan Shah '01 with 16 percent and Casey Sixkiller '00 with 11 percent.

The vice presidential election looks to be a two-candidate race, with Margaret Kuecker '01 earning 27 percent of respondents' approval and Jack-O-Lantern candidate Anna Van Meter '01, with 20 percent, far ahead of Joe Brown '00.

The Dartmouth sent polls via BlitzMail to 4,410 students, 624 of whom responded. Last year, only 1,259 students voted in the actual election -- the lowest turnout since 1989.

With two close races and many potential voters still undecided, it is likely the voters who decide over the weekend which candidate they will vote for, will also decide the election.

Eighteen percent of respondents said they were undecided about who to vote for in the presidential election and -- in what is probably the result of the lack of tickets in the election -- 44 percent said they were undecided about which vice presidential candidate to choose.

Some students interviewed by The Dartmouth yesterday said the candidates' relative stands on the Greek issue played important roles in determining their vote.

Andrew Weed '00, a brother in Chi Heorot fraternity, said he will vote for Pluhar because "he is in favor of the Greek system, and that is the top issue for me and my circle of friends -- he appealed to that."

Weed said none of the vice presidential candidates caught his eye because they did not discuss the Greek issue in such detail.

But others said the Greek issue is not the only thing they are interested in.

"I'm definitely not voting for a candidate who bases his platform on the Greek [system]. I'm looking for someone with actual ideas and a platform besides just the Greeks. I haven't decided entirely, but I'm leaning toward Leatherbee because I think he'd be an effective person," Matt Frankel '02 said.

While Frankel said he recognizes the importance and timeliness of the Greek issue, he said a president should not be elected solely on that platform.

One of Frankel's concerns is how much power the Assembly will have, regardless of who is voted into office, he said.

As for vice president, Frankel said, "I like Joe Brown. His platform and speeches have not focused on Greek issues; he's well-rounded and did not just commit himself to one aspect."

"I factored in whether [the candidates] are affiliated or not," said Frankel, who favored Brown partly because of his unaffiliated status.

Krishna currently leads the pack of presidential candidates with 27 percent of the votes, while Pluhar only trails by 8 percent. Eighteen percent of voters are still undecided.

"Dean has done a pretty good job with SA. I like that he has more than one platform and he's interested in more things besides the Greek system, like wanting to get rid of fines. Also, he has good posters," said Dana Cone '02.

Like 44 percent of students polled, Cone is undecided about her vice presidential choice.

Neha Shroff '02 said she is voting for Krishna because she knows that with his qualifications, approachable qualities and listening skills, he would do a good job.

While the Greek system may play a role in deciding her candidate selection, Shroff said it will not directly influence her choice.

Lucas Bianchi '99 is voting for Krishna "just from the limited amount of what I heard at the debate."

Bianchi also said that Kuecker is his vice presidential choice because "she seemed the best. There just didn't seem to be any competition really."