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Class conducts presidential popularity poll

With presidential elections looming, political analysts and campaign managers are anxiously crunching numbers to try and estimate how many votes their candidate will receive. A Tyler Junior College class acquired some numbers of their own.

Instructor Dr. Eugene Kirkpatrick’s Honors History class distributed 343 surveys to see which candidate, Sen. John McCain or Sen. Barack Obama, students and facultywill vote for.

“We just want to know how the school feels about the upcoming election,” TJC student Aaron Handley said. “We hope to get the most unbiased opinion possible.”

The group randomly gave half of the polls to students and half to faculty to keep it unbiased and also to get a more accurate variety of voters.

Freshman Jana Marcussen said it was interesting to see the differences in voters.

The poll asks nine questions including candidate choice, voting habits, age, ethnicity and gender.

The students said while some of the results were surprising, others were expected.

“McCain did win, and we were kind of expecting that,” TJC student Justin Hilton said. “It was shocking to see how big the racial divides were as far as how people voted.”

According to the poll, the older the voters got, the more conservative and supportive of McCain they became. Also, there was only one black person that voted for McCain.

Another interesting answer to the polling survey came from a democratic female voter. She wrote simply, “Where’s Hillary?” and voted for McCain.

The poll is just one of the projects the class is organizing and participating in. Kirkpatrick said there are two other projects this semester. One group is following a colonial family through history and another group is tracking Virginia presidents.

Marcussen said she chose the poll project because it was the most current.

“I think it’s going to be the most interesting, and it’s more current,” she said. “We will have an opportunity to relate current events to previous elections in history, and this one in particular is going to have a huge impact.”

The students in the polling group agreed that this election was one of the most important in America’s history.

“It’s kind of a big deal this time because there is so much going on with the war and the economy and everything,” Handley said. “It’s important who gets picked.”

Marcussen said she believes the election will not only have an impact on our nation for the next four years, but many years to come. She also said she believes more students are involved in this election than previous years.

“It’s being publicized a lot and the media’s real involved, not just in the news and stuff, but it’s going through MTV and channels kids watch,” Marcussen said.

The majority of the class agreed that this election is one of the most important in history and deserves voter attention.

“Hopefully [the poll] will inspire them to vote and make sure they know their vote counts,” TJC student Matthew Potter said.

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