As Election Day approaches, Seton Hall students have shown that they are no exception to national millennial voting statistics: Hillary Clinton is by far the most popular candidate on campus.
A poll conducted by The Setonian sought to find out what students were planning to do in the 2016 presidential election. The poll requested students anonymously select one of six available options: “Donald Trump,” “Gary Johnson,” “Hillary Clinton,” “Jill Stein,” “Abstain” and “Other/Write-in.” Students who chose to abstain were choosing to abstain from voting in the presidential election, not from The Setonian’s poll.
Of the 1,001 students who participated in the poll, which opened on Oct. 6 and closed on Nov. 1, 48 percent were in favor of Clinton, 22 percent were in favor of Trump, 12 percent stated that they were abstaining from the election, 9 percent said that they were voting for “Other/Write-in,” 7 percent were in favor of Johnson and 2 percent were in favor of Stein.
The poll was open to all students, regardless of whether or not they were registered or legally allowed to vote in the national election. The Setonian’s staff individually polled students on campus to ensure that participating students only entered their answer once.
The statistics collected by The Setonian’s poll are nearly identical to the national statistics documented in the Harvard Institute of Politics Fall 2016 Youth Poll, which stated Clinton received 49 percent of the millennial vote, compared to Trump’s 21 percent, Johnson’s 14 percent and Stein’s 5 percent. The Harvard poll recorded the responses of 2,150 millennials between the ages of 18 and 29-years-old.
Ajiya Doka, a junior diplomacy major and president of the SHU College Democrats, said that Trump’s personality could have contributed to why Clinton was 26 percent more popular.
“Even though we go to a Catholic institution and usually Catholics vote Republican due to LGBT issues or more social issues, I think that Donald Trump is just such a misogynistic and divisive candidate that people just can’t vote for him,” Doka said.
She added that college campuses also tend to be more liberal leaning, which could be a reason for Clinton’s popularity among millennials.
However, Mateusz Steczkowski, a senior finance major, said he will be voting for Trump because he feels the businessman has a “better future outlook for our country” and because of his plans to lower taxes to keep U.S. businesses on American soil.
“I feel like everything’s really biased when it comes to the news,” Steczkowski said. “People don’t really think for themselves.”
Steczkowski said that social media is one reason some voters have negative attitudes regarding Trump, which Steczkowski believes contribute to Clinton’s current lead in national polls. However, he feels that poll results vary from news outlet to news outlet.
“If you watch CNN, they’ll say that Hillary’s winning. If you watch FOX, they’ll say that Trump’s winning,” Steczkowski said. “They kind of go back and forth.”
According to RealClearPolitics, a political news and polling-data aggregator, Clinton holds 47 percent of the general vote and Trump holds 45.3 percent of the general vote as of 8:47 p.m. on Nov. 2.
When asked about The Setonian’s poll and the presidential election, Edward Colombo, a senior political science and philosophy major and president of the SHU College Republicans, declined to comment on behalf of the Republicans.
Robert Knee, a senior political science major and president of the Young Pirates for Liberty, said that he believes college students tend to form their opinions on presidential candidates based off of social issues, which contributes to Clinton’s popularity on campus.
“A lot of college kids aren’t really old enough to pay income taxes yet, you really don’t start to come down that age for a couple of years,” Knee said. “A lot of them pay sales taxes and a lot of taxes related to labor because they do work, but at the same time, we are in such an environment that the majority of the issues that relate to us and face us other than student debt are related to social issues.”
Knee said that the Young Pirates for Liberty have not endorsed a specific candidate for the election because they think there are positives and negatives to every candidate, “though there are certainly more negatives.”
Personally, Knee is voting for Johnson, the Libertarian party’s nominee. He said he does not consider this a “waste of a vote” because he believes a vote can only be wasted when someone votes for a candidate they do not believe in.
“I have been an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump ever since the beginning of his candidacy,” Knee said. “He’s said some things that I agree with, but at the end of the day I could never pull the lever for the guy, either in the primary or the general election. That’s why I’ve endorsed Gary.”
Alex Kashtan, a senior marketing and finance major, said that he will be voting for Johnson as well, because he feels that neither Clinton nor Trump will represent the American people properly.
Yet, Kashtan said that he thinks Trump has a chance of winning the election despite being down in the polls.
“He does come off as a little bit racist, and I think there are a lot of people that are a little bit racist inside, and they’re going to be the people who come out to vote,” Kashtan said. “That’s the people who are sons and daughters of baby boomers, like my dad.”
The Harvard study stated that an overwhelming amount of people of color feel that they are under attack.
“Nearly nine in 10 (85 percent) young African Americans believe that ‘people of [their] own racial background are under attack in America.’ 72 percent of Hispanics feel the same, as do 45 percent of young white Americans,” the study said. “There is little confidence that race relations will improve dramatically under a potential Clinton administration [Improve: 23 percent; Worsen: 22 percent; Stay the same: 36 percent], but there was significant concern it could worsen under a potential Trump administration [Improve: 8 percent; Worsen: 62 percent; Stay the same: 12 percent].”
Eduardo Mendoza, a freshman pre-business major who identifies as a Democrat, said that he will be voting for Clinton because, “she is the lesser of two evils.”
Mendoza added that he believes Clinton is leading in the polls right now because “she is not as dumb as Trump.”
Zachary Shaw, a freshman diplomacy major, will also be supporting Clinton. He said that he has supported her since she announced her candidacy.
“I really feel that Hillary, although she runs as a Democrat, has very independent policies across the board. For instance, her economic policy is pretty middle-of-the-road,” Shaw said. “She’s socially liberal, which is where I consider myself, so I just felt that Hillary was the prime candidate for me.”
Shaw said that he “would never vote for Trump.”
“I think most Americans realize that, although Donald Trump may have some constructive ideas, he does not portray himself in the most presidential way,” Shaw said, specifically referencing Trump’s rants on Twitter.
However, Emily Hoff, a senior journalism and public relations major, disagrees with Shaw. She would not be voting for Clinton if she were registered to vote.
“How can we vote for someone we don’t trust?” Hoff asked.
Hoff added that peer pressure and lack of research play into Clinton’s current lead in the polls.
“I think millennials are very ‘with her,’ and they don’t do the research enough about what she actually stands for,” Hoff said. “I feel like if you say ‘I’m voting for Trump’ as a woman, you’re going to get looked at differently.”
Considering Seton Hall is a Catholic institution, some are surprised over the support Clinton has gotten, as some of her stances, like her pro-choice stance on abortion, oppose church values.
Freshman history major Gregory Lobo said this is exactly why he will not be voting for Clinton.
Lobo called Clinton “absolutely terrible.” He said that her tenure as Secretary of State was a disaster and stated that her email scandal was illegal. He also referenced her stance supporting abortion.
“She promised to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which would be problematic for people of faith, plus it would make more abortions,” Lobo said. “Two million people are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment, so repealing it would be problematic.”
The Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision that bars certain states from using federal funds to get an abortion, unless the mother’s life is in danger.
Lobo said that he is not sure yet who he will be voting for in the election and that he will most likely end up writing in another candidate on his ballot.
With elections right around the corner on Nov. 8, Knee recommended students do as much research as possible on every candidate to make an informed decision.
“Seton Hall students, we are the future of this country,” Knee said. “We need to be able to determine what is best and the best way to do that is by voting with your heart and voting with your conscious and the only way to waste a vote is to basically not do that.”
Editor’s Note: The Setonian’s entire Editorial Board contributed to this report by way of polling students across campus.
Ashley Turner and Brianna Bernath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.