Professor’s research indicated 65% of Cornell students plan to vote in Mount Vernon

Hans Hassell, assistant professor of politics, held a poll as part of his Intro to American Politics class in block 1.  Students helped put the poll questions together, distribute it, and do most of the data entry. They found that 65 percent of Cornell College students who plan to vote plan on doing so in Mount Vernon this coming November, adding between 300 to 400 votes to the town’s electorate.

The poll, which was featured in the Nov. 1 edition of the Mount Vernon Sun,  was conducted between Sept. 17 and Sept. 22. It asked students about their levels of political involvement, partisanship, and opinions shortly after their arrival at Cornell to begin the school year.

The trend was stronger among first year college students and also among students who do not originate from within the state. Almost 75 percent of first year students who will be voting in their first presidential election report that they plan to vote in Mount Vernon, while only 48 percent of voting seniors indicate they plan on voting in Mt. Vernon.

Likewise 68 percent of students from outside of Iowa reported they were likely to vote in Iowa, while only 53 percent of Iowa residents indicated they planned to vote in Mt. Vernon instead of their hometown.

Turnout among individuals under the age of 30 during the last presidential election in 2008 was 51 percent. Assuming that students at Cornell turn out to vote at the same rates as others their age, the college will add between 300 to 400 voters to the electorate in Mt. Vernon this coming election. In 2008, 2,444 voters voted in Mt. Vernon.

Results from this poll are based on surveys placed in students’ mailboxes on Sept. 17, with a randomly selected sample of 132 students. For results based on the total sample of Cornell College students (1,170), with 95 percent confidence, the maximum margin of error is plus or minus 8.0 percentage points. Demographic weighting was based on enrollment information published by Cornell College.

Cornell College seeks to engage its students and community in the 2012 Presidential election process. The college does not endorse any candidate seeking elected office or any political party. The college does support critical thinking and analysis of political candidates and how to become  engaged in the American democratic process.