In campus-wide poll, Obama eclipses former Eli Clinton

Posted Wednesday 3:55 p.m. He may be locked in a three-way dead heat in the latest polls of Iowa Democrats, but with one day to go before the voting begins in the 2008 presidential primaries, Senator Barack Obama has the residential-college vote all but locked up.

The Illinois Democrat was the top choice of 26.4 percent of undergraduates surveyed in a recent Yale Daily News poll, giving him more than twice the support of New York Senator Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 — the only Yale graduate in the field — who registered 12.1 percent.

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Reed Reibstein
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With 42.3 percent of students saying they are still undecided, no other candidate even came close to matching that figure: the next-highest finisher was former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, who won 3.7 percent of the vote. Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, who has represented the Nutmeg State since 1980, garnered just 0.2 percent support.

On the Republican side, the top vote-getter was maverick Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who pulled 3.2 percent of the vote. The next four finishers were former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani at 2.5 percent, Arizona Senator John McCain at two percent, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 1.9 percent and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee at 1.2 percent.

The News’ poll — conducted online between Dec. 31 and Jan. 2 and sent to the entire undergraduate student body — received 1,833 responses.

Despite Obama’s popularity on campus, students remain unconvinced that the first-term legislator will become the next president. Just 49 percent of his supporters and 34 percent of students overall think Obama will win the Democratic nomination, and only 28 percent of students believe he will be sworn in next January.

Clinton, by comparison, is likely to emerge as the Democratic nominee, according to 85 percent of her supporters and 57 percent of students overall. More than two-fifths of those polled — 43 percent — say they think Clinton will become the 44th president.

On the Republican side, students consider Giuliani to be the most likely nominee, with 32 percent saying he will represent the GOP in the general election. After sitting on a comfortable lead in national polls for much of last year, the former mayor has watched his numbers slide in recent weeks, and his campaign has come under fire for emphasizing later-voting states at the expense of Iowa and New Hampshire, whose residents will vote Jan. 3 and Jan. 8, respectively.

Romney — the man who has arguably devoted the most money and resources to winning those first two states — came in second in students’ predictions of the eventual nominees, garnering 26 percent of the pool. McCain came in third, with 17 percent, followed by Huckabee at 16 percent.

Clinton’s chief source of support comes from students who listed social issues as their primary concern in selecting a candidate. Of her backers, 27 percent identified issues such as abortion and gay marriage as their top concern, and another 26 percent pointed to foreign policy.

The numbers for Obama are similar: 27 percent of his supporters said foreign policy is the most important issue to them, and 19 percent identified social issues. But the former first lady registered a decisive lead among those most worried about the economy, with 18 percent of her supporters labeling it their most important issue, compared with only 8 percent for Obama.

Overall, foreign policy was the top concern of 24 percent of students, social issues of 20 percent and the economy of 14 percent. Seven percent pointed to energy and the environment, and 6 percent each said they considered health care and education most when choosing a candidate. Just 5 percent of students said the war in Iraq was most important to them, and terrorism — regularly among the top issues in national surveys of registered voters — came in at just 1 percent.

Obama’s support in the poll reflects national trends that indicate he draws much of his support from college-age and first-time voters. In a Des Moines Register poll released over the weekend, 72 percent of those supporting Obama said they will be caucusing for the first time Thursday.

In the News’ poll, 89 percent of students surveyed said they are registered to vote, 85 percent said they are eligible to vote in the primary elections and 62 percent said they intend to vote in this year’s primary. Of those signed up to vote, 30 percent said they are registered in Connecticut and 70 percent said they are registered elsewhere.

According to the poll, 55 percent of students are registered Democrats, 11 percent are registered Republicans, and 23 percent are Independent or have no party affiliation.

For more coverage of the primary races, visit “Yale on the Trail,” the News’ 2008 election blog — live from Iowa and New Hampshire — here.


  • Anonymous

    Wow. So Yale is almost 90% Democratic? I guess some things never change.

    Class of '96.

  • Anonymous

    I'm surpised that Democrats outnumber Republicans by only 5-to-1. So this is what Yale's "diverse campus" means.

  • Anonymous

    5 registered Democrats for every registered Republican? Gotta love that Campus Diversity.

  • Anonymous

    "The News’ poll — conducted online between Dec. 31 and Jan. 2 and sent to the entire undergraduate student body — received 1,833 responses."

    This was not a scientific poll by any means. Don't read too much into it.

  • Anonymous

    At least the Yale folks recognize a solid Harvard man is best!

    The diversity is the number of foreign students not diverse North Americans.

  • Anonymous

    This shows the 'hillary' thing is only a fabrication of the press and the voters do NOT want a clinton back disgracing the White House! bill clinton had NO respect for the office of president, else how could he do what he did to Monica? I am so ashamed I think of it everytime I see his face. We do not need/want them back!

  • Anonymous

    We all know Obama has never touched a crack pipe

    or done nite long binges on cocaine,

    or sold bags of coke at Harvard

    or ever was in Indonesia

    and his brother is not a muslim but a buhddist monk.

    Hillary has invented all this lies and Iowa will vote and punish her.

    Obama 08

  • Anonymous

    As a former Ivy Leaguer (Penn) I'm not surprised by the poll. The number of naive, shrill, teeny-bopper pseudointellectuals on these campuses is disgustingly prevalent, and that's not counting the scores of ambulance-chasing idiots in their pathetic law school. Ahh, the spoiled, superficial,self-righteous "me" generation is braying ever so loudly nowadays. Babies.

  • Anonymous

    I guess there's something to be said for the fact that the more people know the more liberal they tend to become. It's not Yale's fault that many of the brightest minds turn out to be more progressive--i.e. Democratic--in their politics.

  • Anonymous

    what happened to random sampling for News polls?

  • Anonymous

    It is not that the more you know you tend to be liberal. It is more like the old saying, " When you are young, if you are not a liberal you do not have a heart and when you are old, if you are not a conservative you do not have a brain".

    Eventually those young Yale students will go out into the real world away from the sweet campus life and discover why many people tend to become more conservative after they get more worldly experience or they could move to a real social democracy in Europe and stop wishing they lived in one.

  • Anonymous

    Here's the key line:

    "Obama’s support in the poll reflects national trends that indicate he draws much of his support from college-age and first-time voters."

    Young and naive people tend to vote for people like Obama for superficial reasons.

  • Anonymous

    There are few things funnier than a contemporary republican referring to others as 'socialists' after 7 years with only one spending veto (on a bill which might hinder the president's ability to torture) and an endless exercise in the ultimate socialist activities: wars of aggression and nation-building.

    meanwhile, we keep on spending twice what those 'socialist democracies' do relative to our gdp on health care, and only have $500 co-pays and tens of millions of uninsured to show for it.

    and let's not forget the icing on the cake after 7 years of 'republican' government: $100 oil and the canadian loonie trouncing the greenback. heckuva job.

    maybe there's a reason that the only republican candidate who even registers on the above chart is Paul.

  • Anonymous

    ahhhh the refreshing diversity of Yale's campus.

    i guess it only applies to the racial check boxes on the applications.

    at least the men's athletic teams keep some conservatism alive on campus

  • Anonymous

    Of course Obama won. After all he is the "built-in" diversity candidate and we are constantly told diversity is our strength.I don't know how this country thrived all those years. when it was about 90% white.

    This poll's result reflects how it isn't about choosing the most qualified person to be president. It's about all the guilty whites, who want Obama to win, so they can "feel" good about themselves.
    It is no wonder why Obama has raised more $$ fron university employees nation-wide, than any other candidate.

    3 years ago Obama was a state senator in Illinois. Now he is ready to be PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. If he were white, his candidacy would be a joke!! Obama is truly what the L.A.TIMES called him - -


  • Anonymous

    I'm sorry to say that most people under 25 years of age don't vote. Maybe college students are the exception, but I doubt it. So all of this polling of college students is essentially meaningless. But it makes good news copy, I guess.

    --Patrick Curry
    Irvine, CA

  • Anonymous

    when i graduated , i loved yale. i always thought that i would leave a substantial amount of my estate to the college. now i am embarrassed to mention that i went there. liberalism is a mental disorder.

  • Anonymous

    1:20: I feel more or less the same way. I still love Yale, but the political ideology is a huge embarrassment -- and the students' and faculty's failure to even understand basic conservative arguments and ideology is as much of an embarrassment as the sheer number of Democrats.

    Yale '02

  • Anonymous

    Liberalism is not a mental disorder; neither is conservatism. Neither is any political position: Some are wrong, though, in which case sitting down over pizza and rational discourse might just be called for. Maybe if we all got over ourselves and our righteous sense of superiority, we might actually attain the civil political discourse everyone claims to want in this country -- but which no one ever bothers striving toward.

  • Anonymous

    Yet again, it seems as the poll is very skewed by the self-selection of the respondents. Those who have responded are those who are the most passionate, with the Obama camp, the most passionate of the on campus groups, just getting out the vote. Further, with the majority of voters undecided, this can hardly be taken as the view of the campus. Take, for example, the Democractic/Republican divide. I know for a fact that these percentages are wrong--it is simply the Democrats are the "activists" who took the time to vote. Hardly a sample at all.

    While I always hoped a Yale voter was more educated, this poll truly proves the opposite. The "populous" is once again votign oin who it likes--Obama--based on superficial ideas. They like that he is young, they like he is a minority, they like that he is a good speaker. They like that they can relate to him. But do they know what he stands for? Probably not, at least for the majority. This is sad for a place like Yale. Just rallying around your friends' candidate because he is a candidate your friends like is sad.

    I personally have not been following the race too much, but I find a huge problem to be finding out what every candidate stands for. So without this information, as I am sure most voters don't have, we are making uninformed decisions.

    If you really are concerned about foreign policy, how about someone who has a lot of experience. Dodd, Biden, Richardson, McCain are all very qualified in this area, but jsut aren't "sexy" candidates as they are old, white men. Yet, I'd rather have an old, whate man any day if they are very experienced and have made decisions before. Clinton has good experience here, as does Edwards. Even Kucinich has served a while in Congress. Overall, I see no one with less experience in this area than Obama in the race except maybe Huckabee and Giuliani. This really says something.

    I am thankful that most people will actually consider the issues. I hope Yale can wake up and look at a platform and realize experience is key. If foreign policy is so important, how about McCain? Reach across the isle--he is the msot qualified and quite similar to Obama.

    Thankfully, we'll learn more about the candidates as time goes on. And who knows, maybe I'll support Obama, but I think most of Yale is being delusional. Come on guys, come to the real world.

  • Anonymous

    How could it have been "self-selection," if respondents were not told in the e-mail or the e-mail subject what the poll was even about?

  • Anonymous

    My entryway doesn't reflect this at all; out of all the guys, I am one of two liberals.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, and how much of the campus was polled? Commenters, before you decry liberalism at Yale, consider this: this poll only represents a small portion of Yale's population. I do not recall taking such a poll, so therefore, not everyone took the poll.

  • Anonymous

    Not everyone takes all of the polls in the USA… are those invalid? It was sent to the entire campus, the article says, and nearly 2000 responded. That's a much larger sample than mostly every national poll..probably small margin of error.

  • Anonymous

    Fret not my child.The University is Republican right where it counts in it's upper level management,Bd.of Directors,Endowment fund caretakers..

  • Anonymous

    To explain how this polling differs and is not statistically reliable.

    There was a choice of taking the poll. When you clicked on the link, you could see the topic immediately and then choose if you wished to participate. I believe only those who were really into teh subject participated, meaning that it was not a random selection; the people self-selected themsleves.

    Others say that this is a more valid poll than others because it was a sample of 2000 or so, larger than many polls. However, those are representative polls. The people who are selected are random; a representative selection of the population is generated via telephone number. In this polling, there is no randomness as everyone was invited to take it, but only those wo were interested actually did. This means that there si a large skew of self-selection.

    There was no random selection. For this poll to work, everyone had to take it, or a randomly selected portion of those in the student body.

  • Anonymous

    We must make every effort to support the best candidate for the job, not on color, gender or religion - but on intellect and experience. If you lined-up people all around the world by tint, from one individual to another, one would find people in the same classification would have different tints within that group. The similarities are we are either female, or male - but most of us have two eyes, two ears, two hands, two legs and one mouth. Right now, this country is in serious trouble, both economic and environmentally. The leadership has failed us badly. One cannot any longer afford to vote on personalities or by parties. We need the most intelligent and experienced people who can network with a vast group of intellectual individuals who can turn this country around. My pick in a fantasy election would be;

    Hillary Clinton as President: Hillary had eight years in the White House as a First Lady in a successful presidency that didn't get us into wars, and a desire to work on domestic issues. As a President, she would bring a lot to the White House that will hopefully concentrate on national issues - environment, education, healthcare reforms, housing issues.

    Barack Obama as Vice-President: Barack is highly intelligent, and should be considered a "President-In-Training" in a second Clinton Administration. Barack has a very steadied and studied nature - and against Hillary's shrill style, has a more calming personification. However, Obama needs more time to season in the Washington Beltway before he should be allowed to take the Presidential seat
    Al Gore as Energy Secretary: Al has spent a considerable amount of time on issues concerning the environment. While a little "stiff" in personality, his intellect of Global Warming and experience in Washington politics would make him an important, intellectual voice for critically needed environmental changes in a world that is in the beginning stages of climate change. Granted, Al is not an environmental scientist - however, he is an important bridge between the scientists themselves and Washington's politicians - and that will help implementation of crucial programs.

    We need people who can answer questions on the fly, not those unable to fully participate in a "give and take" public "Q&A" sessions via teleprompters only, unable to think on their feet, or on their own. This next administration has to be a team effort, and not a bunker mentality - we've seen where that has taken us!

    - Andrew, MALL727net -