Poll finds students favor Obama
The survey, distributed to all undergraduate students through a campus-wide email on Tuesday night, found that 45 percent of respondents identified as Democrats and 20 percent identified as Republicans, while 31 percent considered themselves independents or did not align themselves with any party.
Not all students who expressed a desire to vote for a specific candidate were fully supportive of their choice.
"Sadly, I think it's more of who I'm not voting for and why," Lily Michelson '15 said. "It's not that I think that Obama is the ideal candidate, I just think Romney doesn't have the experience necessary, especially in foreign policy."
While 72 percent of female respondents said they plan to vote for Obama and 27 percent support Romney, 58 percent of men indicated support for Obama and 35 percent for Romney, reflecting a significant gender discrepancy. One percent of women who responded said they would vote for a third-party candidate, compared to 6 percent of men.
Of the female respondents, 53 percent identified as Democrats, 20 percent identified as Republicans and 25 percent identified as independents or with no party. Male respondents were less likely to identify with a major party, with 36 percent identifying as Democrats, 21 percent identifying as Republicans and 38 percent identifying as independents or with no party.
Overall, 87 percent of respondents are registered to vote, and 94 percent plan to vote in the upcoming presidential election. Of voting students, 31 percent said they plan to vote in New Hampshire, while 69 percent indicated that they will vote in another state.
Many students said they chose to vote in New Hampshire due to the state's potential influence as a swing state and relative political certainty within their home states.
Michelson said she changed her voter registration from New York to New Hampshire when she saw the closeness in New Hampshire's polls.
College Democrats President Mason Cole '13 said he spends most of his time in Hanover and chose to register in the state, as his vote will carry the most weight in New Hampshire.
Robert Smith '14, co-vice president of the College Republicans, said he also chose to vote in new Hampshire despite hailing from Pennsylvania.
"Pennsylvania leans Democrat, and a lot of times it's a judgment call about where you want to vote," he said.
College Libertarians President William Baird '15, a Virginia native, chose to remain registered in New Hampshire after voting in the state's primary in January.
"Technically, my vote has a bigger effect here because it's a small population," he said.
Bridget Shaia '15 said she registered in her home state of Virginia.
"Virginia is just as much of a swing state as New Hampshire is," Shaia said. "I wanted to be able to vote in my local elections."
The survey demonstrated that responding students' candidate choice is similar across class years 70 percent of members of the Class of 2013, 63 percent of members of the Class of 2014, 68 percent of members of the Class of 2015 and 60 percent of members of the Class of 2016 indicated an intention to vote for Obama.
Students cited a variety of issues as their main concerns in the upcoming election. Smith listed pro-life issues, as well as the economy and debt, as the main issues driving his decision.
"Even if you are a liberal, I feel like you would be disappointed in Obama," he said.
Pauline Lewis '16 said she expects students will turn out to vote because this election is controversial and has important implications for the future of the country. Lewis, an Obama supporter, said she made her decision based on the candidates' values and the issues on which they focused during the campaign.
Past elections saw a strong turnout of Democratic voters in Hanover, including both College students and the greater community, Cole said, adding that he hopes that all potential voters vote in New Hampshire if not already voting in a different state.
While Dartmouth is not exceptionally politically active, presidential elections are an exception, according to Smith. The fact that New Hampshire has the first primary in the nation and hosts debates makes students more aware of political issues during election seasons, he said.
However, some students are unsure if the College will have a high turnout rate on Election Day due to the location of the polls.
"I'm a little skeptical of students voting because it's not right on campus, even if it's at [Hanover High School] and there are shuttles," Michelson said.
The number of students who attended voter registration efforts on campus may nonetheless serve as a signal for others to vote, she said.
"The election is so close that it is extremely important that everyone votes, regardless of political affiliation," Michelson said.
Results from The Dartmouth's survey feature a 3-percent margin of error for campus-wide data in relation to the total number of enrolled undergraduates. All gender-related data has a margin of error of 4 percent, while class-based data has a margin of 5.3 percent.