With eight days until the Ward 1 Democratic Endorsement Vote, it’s still anyone’s race.
In an Internet poll conducted by the News last weekend, 40 percent of respondents who said they are planning to cast a ballot in the Ward 1 endorsement race next week said they have yet to pick a candidate. Of that same group, 27 percent of students said they planned to vote for Katie Harrison ’11. Mike Jones ’11 received 21 percent of votes, and Minh Tran ’09 received 12 percent of votes.
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But after a campaign season fraught with canvassing, Twittering, public debates, Facebook advertisements and dot-com domain names, the poll suggests that the bulk of Ward 1 voters have not yet been convinced by any of the candidates. And undecided voters only have a short while to find the candidate who best represents their views; the election takes place April 17.
The News e-mailed the poll to 888 Yale undergraduates, and 304 students responded.
When it came to gender, Harrison — the lone female in the race — was the candidate with the most even split between males and females: Exactly half of her reported voters were female. On the other hand, Tran and Jones both seemed to receive more support from male undergraduates, with 75 percent of Tran’s voters and 57 percent of Jones’ voters identifying as male.
In interviews Wednesday night, Jones and Tran said their campaigns were not targeting a specific gender and that they did not expect the same result to be apparent in the electoral results next Friday. Jones said he and his campaign team do not plan to change their campaign strategy to reach a different set of voters, though seven of his nine campaign directors are male.
“I know who’s said they’re supporting us, and by looking at those folks, there’s no gender disparity,” Jones said.
Harrison said she found the gender breakdown of the poll results surprising. She said she did not think she was explicitly targeting women more or less than any other candidate. But upon hearing the results of the poll, Harrison recalled a past conversation with former Ward 1 alderwoman Rebecca Livengood ’07. Harrison said Livengood admitted she sometimes felt it was more challenging for women to be seen as leaders or effective members of the Board of Aldermen.
Trends also seemed to exist between classes. Among Tran’s supporters, 58 percent said they were freshmen. The Morse senior’s popularity with the class of 2012 could be attributed to the fact that Tran is currently a freshman counselor in his college.
Tran said he could not comment on why more freshmen might vote for him, but maintained that he is glad to receive the support of any class.
“We’re not making a concerted effort to reach out to only freshmen — we’re making a concerted effort to reach out to all voters,” Tran said of the poll results. “But I’m definitely humbled by it and happy to hear it.”
Sophomores who responded to the poll split their loyalties exactly between Harrison and Jones, though Harrison’s camp was more evenly divided: 29 percent of supporters were freshmen, 36 percent were sophomores, 14 percent were juniors and 21 percent were seniors. The bulk of Jones’ backing came from the lower classes: 38 percent of his supporters reported they were freshmen and 48 percent reported they were sophomores, while 10 percent were juniors and 4 percent were seniors.
Jones said Wednesday night that though his campaign has not particularly targeted students from any specific year, he said he understands why he might receive more votes from underclassmen.
“I think in general, we’re going to reach out to everyone, but in a race like this, social networks are just as important or more important than any other type of outreach we could do,” Jones said.
The poll was open for respondent completion for 36 hours, between 7 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Tuesday. Consecutive responses from identical IP addresses were deleted from the poll.
Voter turnout in recent Ward 1 aldermanic elections has fluctuated dramatically. Last election, Rachel Plattus ’09 won an uncontested election that only brought 128 voters to the polls. Two years before that, over 800 Ward 1 residents voted in the election between Livengood and Nick Shalek ’05.