According to a survey conducted by the News last Tuesday, Ward 1 aldermanic candidates Vinay Nayak ’14 and Sarah Eidelson ’12 are locked in a statistical dead heat heading into tomorrow’s election.
Among 196 respondents who live in Ward 1 and are registered to vote in Connecticut, 71 said that if they were to vote for Ward 1 alderman at the time of taking the survey they would vote for Eidelson, while 72 said the same for Nayak.
With polls set to open in less than 24 hours — at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning — both campaigns are entering a final phase of intense turnout efforts. Campaign volunteers for both Nayak and Eidelson will be knocking on doors and calling voters in efforts to ensure their candidate comes out ahead in Tuesday’s race.
This Tuesday looks to break the trend of historically low voter turnout for Ward 1 elections. The deadline for voter registration has been extended to Monday at noon due to the recent snowstorm, but as of Oct. 27, the city’s Registrar of Voters said that 2,400 total voters were registered in Ward 1.
Each of the campaigns has had success in registering new voters in Ward 1, with Nayak’s campaign estimating they have registered about 600 new voters and Eidelson’s about 700. The Yale College Democrats, too, registered around 200 new voters, according to president Marina Keegan ’12.
The race, for now, appears close. But with a large proportion of possible voters both old and new still undecided, Nayak and Eidelson’s focus now turns to identifying voters and encouraging them to cast their ballots.
NECK AND NECK
With similar campaign strategies and ideologically similar platforms, the candidates are in a race in which voters largely seem to be supporting the candidate most similar to themselves: younger voters and males preferred Nayak while females and older students generally preferred Eidelson.
Campaigning in the Ward 1 race began in earnest in August when students returned to campus for the start of the fall semester. Eidelson and Nayak each built teams of over 50 student volunteers and spent the following months going door to door, encouraging new voters to participate in local politics and selling their platforms.
Yale spokesman Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93, who served two terms as Ward 1 alderman from 1990 to 1993, wrote in an email that at “this level of politics,” face-to-face interaction is most important in running a successful campaign.
A survey was sent by the News to 2,076 randomly selected undergraduates, and 594 people or 38 percent completed the survey. 402 of these respondents lived within Ward 1, and 321 of these Ward 1 residents said they were eligible to vote.
Among those surveyed who were registered in Ward 1, support for each candidate varies by gender. 43 percent of males registered to vote in Ward 1 said they prefer Nayak while 33 percent prefer Eidelson. Among females registered to vote in Ward 1, 40 percent of respondents sided with Eidelson and 30 percent with Nayak.
A larger contrast is found in the support each candidate received based on respondents’ class years, with older voters tending to say they will vote for Eidelson and younger voters standing behind Nayak.
Nayak’s emphasis on connecting with freshmen — he held his first major campaign event of the academic year in front of Old Campus’ Lanman-Wright Hall and held his pre-debate rally in Bingham Hall — may have worked. 52 percent of registered freshmen in Ward 1 said in the survey that they would vote for Nayak, while 21 percent said they would vote for Eidelson.
Of these three class years, Eidelson — who said her biggest campaign event was a meet and greet held in September on Cross Campus — was supported most by her own. 50 percent of registered respondents in the class of 2012 said they would vote for Eidelson, compared to only 15 percent who said they would vote for Nayak.
But, overall, the two candidates are neck and neck.
According to registered respondents who identified as “definitely” voting in the election, Nayak has an advantage — 55 percent of 66 definite voters said they support Nayak’s campaign, whereas only 35 percent will definitely be voting for Eidelson on Tuesday. Still, Eidelson holds an advantage over Nayak with voters who said they would “probably” vote: 47 percent of probable voters surveyed said they favored Eidelson while 33 percent of this group said they will vote for Nayak.
Taking these two groups together, the two are fairly tight according to voters, with Nayak leading Eidelson as 43 percent of registered Ward 1 respondents who said they will “probably” or “definitely” vote sided with Nayak and 41 percent with Eidelson. When those who are “unsure” if they will be voting are also included, the two candidates have exactly the same amount of support, according to the survey.
Zak Newman ’13, Nayak’s campaign manager, explained that the final week leading up to the election is spent identifying likely voters and trying to sway those who remain undecided. This strategy may pay off — as approximately 15 percent of probable voters in the survey said they are unsure which candidate they will support, both Eidelson and Nayak had many voters to convince as of last Tuesday.
City Hall spokesman Adam Joseph said that outcomes of municipal races tend to depend less on specific policies and more on success in getting citizens to vote.
“The job is not an ideological one, as I learned very quickly. It’s practical,” Morand wrote in an email to the News last week. “[The] best candidate is the one who will do the unglamorous, hard work.”
For Nayak, the results of the News’ poll reflected the urgency with which he must campaign in the time he has left.
“[The survey results say] to me that it’s important that every single person, regardless of who they support, come out to vote,” Nayak said. “For me, it’s certainly a rallying cry to every one of my supporters