By Joe Petrizzo
A scientific poll of Rider students finds President Barack Obama leading Gov. Mitt Romney 64 to 24 percent, with 11 percent remaining undecided. This is down from 2008 when Obama led Sen. John McCain about 80 percent to 20 percent in a comparable poll.
The 2012 poll was conducted by Dr. Michael Brogan’s Political Behavior class. About 1,045 undergraduate and graduate students responded by email between Oct. 19 and 30.
“In New Jersey, college-aged students would be supporting the president by large margins,” Brogan said. “I am surprised there isn’t [even] more support for him [at Rider.]”
Brogan noted that Rider students are split on whether or not the country is moving in the right direction. Fifty percent of students are either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied and 50 percent are either very dissatisfied or somewhat dissatisfied.
One of the reasons for the president’s lead is that 54 percent of students identify themselves as Democrats while only 27 percent identify as Republicans. However, Romney does lead among independent students 39 to 31 percent. Another possible reason for Obama’s edge is that Rider students see him more favorably. A total of 43 percent have positive opinions about him while only 24 percent see him negatively. But only 24 percent of students see Romney positively and 47 percent negatively.
A comparison of the Rider poll and a poll conducted by Harvard of four-year college students nationwide shows that Rider students leans more Democratic than the rest of the nation’s college students. Harvard finds the president leading by a smaller margin – 44 to 33 percent with 14 percent undecided. The same can be said about individual issues. Rider students trust the president more on the economy by 21 percentage points, while nationwide Obama beats Romney on this issue by only 8 points.
Despite the fact that his support among Rider students has tumbled from four years ago, Obama would surely win Rider’s electoral votes if it had any. According to electoral-vote.com, if the election was held today, Obama would receive 299 electoral votes – 29 more than necessary – to Romney’s 206, with 33 votes undecided.