Notwithstanding statistical sampling problems, Republicans on campus appear as divided as Republicans nationally on whom to support for president.
The Yale College Republicans hosted an informal “primary” on Monday night to gauge the support for various candidates among their members. Although the College Republicans do not officially endorse until after the primaries are over, they said they were curious to see how the cards were falling ahead of Super Tuesday, the Feb. 5 date when more than 20 states will hold their primaries.
But the outcome was telling: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney all received five votes, while the remaining candidates — Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul and Fred Thompson, along with “uncommitted” — each received one.
Kathyrn Baldwin ’09, the organization’s new president, said she is surprised by how much has changed since last semester. Using past informal conversations among members for comparison, she said the group seems to have followed national trends.
“I think McCain has a lot more support now. And back then, Giuliani and Thompson were much further ahead [among members],” Baldwin said. “But McCain has been surging nationally, and … Thompson has run such a lackluster campaign in general.”
Of course, she added, no one will be making any predictions from the night’s results: “It’s just a fluke they wound up tying.”
Still, the results do not jive with the undergraduate poll conducted by the News over winter break. The News’ poll — conducted online between Dec. 31 and Jan. 2 and sent to the entire undergraduate student body — received 1,833 responses.
In that survey, Paul led among Republicans, polling at 3.2 percent of the total undergraduate vote, while Guliani came in second with 2.5 percent. McCain received two percent, Romney 1.9 percent and Huckabee finished with 1.2 percent.
The results could suggest either that Paul supporters, who have been notable in the campaign for their large and enthusiastic grassroots efforts online, responded in greater numbers over break, or — and perhaps more likely — that many of the campus’ libertarians who support Paul — whose positions, such as ending the Iraq war, are at odds with much of the Republican Party platform — count themselves members of groups other than the College Republicans.
Regardless, those in attendance agreed that the lack so far of a consensus candidate, both on and away from campus, will make the group’s Super Tuesday viewing party much more exciting than otherwise.