The Straw Poll Results and Their Influence on Campus

By Kristen Sandmeier, Contributor

On Tuesday, April 19, the Government and Politics Club hosted a straw poll outside of Thomas. On the day of the New York presidential primaries, it was strategically timed to promote the primary polls and get students to go vote.

The table saw a lot of activity, especially this election cycle, which has generated a lot of excitement and motivation for people to get involved. The straw poll on campus had quite drastic votes, with Bernie Sanders being the landslide favorite.

Meagan Barnett, senior education major, says, “knowing that we are a very liberal college the results did not surprise me, but I think the fact that all the other candidates were almost tied was very odd.”

Of the 279 votes, Bernie Sanders won 139 of them. Donald Trump and John Kasich tied for second with 37 votes each, followed by Hillary Clinton with 35 and Ted Cruz with 31.

These results were not reflected in the NY state primaries, as Hillary Clinton won with 58%, while Sanders pulled in 42% of the vote, still closer than the campus poll showed. Some believe this speaks to the political atmosphere on campus.

Kaitlyn Greiner, junior government major, emphasized this point when discussing the efforts to restart the Republican Club on campus.

“The campus seems to be much more liberal than I thought it would be but more vocal republicans will create an interesting dialogue on campus,” said Greiner.

She points out that it is important to have both sides of every issue, and unified vocal groups would cultivate more open debate and the sharing of ideas.

Starting a Republican club would also spearhead a Democrat club as well, to allow for representation of both sides. These dynamics are not as prominent in the Government and Politics Club, as it is neutral and its main mission is simply to spread political awareness, so the missions of each club would be different.

The Republican Club was institutionalized on Campus two years ago, however, due to a problem with leadership and the inability to find an advisor the club was not able to file the necessary paperwork so the club was illegitimized.

Robert Garan, junior finance major, has been a sort of quasi-president of the club for the past two years. He has still fostered unofficial meetings and has been trying to reboot the club, with a closer-to-home mission to found a local republican base.

The goal is to restructure the club with the mission of getting to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a conglomeration of political figures to network with.

Another goal is to create a greater presence and get more involved by getting to a debate and to see the election process as republicans. The club is looking to help people with political aspirations to reach their goals.

“We’re on to something here. Members are all very passionate about politics and passionate about bringing the club back from the ashes. New name, new group,” said Garan.

Greiner herself is working toward her political aspirations, as she was granted the opportunity to meet Ted and Heidi Cruz and ask them a question on CNN on Wednesday, April 13, and again on Good Morning America on Monday, April 18. She was one of 30 contestants picked after submitting questions to enter.

“I like Ted Cruz because he is the definition of what a conservative republican should be, a family man. America needs a strong leader like him, though not many people in New York share this opinion,” said Greiner.