OVER FOUR IN 10 US COLLEGE STUDENTS THINK THE GOVERNMENT IS ACTIVELY TRYING TO SUPPRESS THEIR VOTES, NEW SURVEY REVEALS ONE WEEK BEFORE ELECTION
- New poll of 1,500 undergraduate students from across the US also found that almost six in 10 (59%) students think the government is actively trying to suppress minorities from voting.
- Almost a quarter (24%) of students have ended a friendship because their friend supports a different presidential candidate.
- 88% of students say they have already voted or intend to vote. Over two-thirds (67%) of students will be casting their votes for Joe Biden / Kamala Harris, with only 21% of students voting for Donald Trump / Mike Pence.
- Almost two-thirds (64%) of students trust mainstream sources of media the most when it comes to information about the election, compared with only 17% who trust social media platforms the most.
Over four in 10 (42%) US college students think there is an effort by government officials or politicians to actively suppress the student vote, compared with only 32% who do not, according to a new Chegg.org / College Pulse survey released today.
The survey, released one week before the presidential election, found Democratic leaning students (60%) were four times more likely to think the government is actively trying to suppress student votes than Republican leaning students (15%). Female students (46%) and non-white students (48%) were also more likely to believe there are attempts to suppress the student vote.
These are among the findings of a new poll of 1,500 US undergraduate students commissioned by Chegg.org, the nonprofit arm of Silicon Valley edtech company Chegg, and conducted by College Pulse. The sample was drawn from College Pulse’s Undergraduate Student Panel that includes over 400,000 verified students representing more than 1,000 different colleges and universities in all 50 states. Polling was conducted between October 15th and October 19th 2020.
The survey also found that almost 6 in 10 (59%) students think there is an effort by US government officials or politicians to actively suppress minorities from voting. Only 26% think this is not the case. While 66% of non-white students think there are suppression efforts, 56% of white students agree and only 29% of white students disagree with 15% unsure. Meanwhile, seven in 10 (70%) female students think there are efforts to suppress minorities from voting versus 47% of male students. The poll found a massive disparity between Democratic and Republican leaning students, with 80% of Democratic leaning students believing there is an effort to suppress minorities from voting, versus only 15% of Republicans.
This crucial disconnect between students supporting the two main parties is highlighted by the fact that almost a quarter (24%) of students have ended a friendship because their friend supports a different presidential candidate. This feeling is particularly acute among Democratic leaning students, with a third (33%) saying they have ended a friendship versus only 4% of Republican leaning students. The figure also rises to 30% among female students overall and 29% among LGBTQIA+ students. A slightly higher proportion of white students (24%) have ended friendships than non-white students (23%).
Students are highly engaged in the election, with 88% saying they have already voted or intend to vote. Over two-thirds (67%) of students will be casting their votes for Joe Biden / Kamala Harris, with only 21% of students voting for Donald Trump / Mike Pence. Biden is proving more successful than Trump in reaching across party lines – 12% of students who identify as Republican leaning are voting Biden in this election, while only 2% of students who identify as Democrat leaning are voting for Trump.
Although they are the first generation to grow up with social media, when asked which source they trust the most when it comes to information about the election, only 17% said social media platforms, including 1% who said Facebook, 2% who said Instagram, 6% who said YouTube, and 8% who said Twitter. By comparison, 64% trust more mainstream sources of media, including 23% mainstream TV, 23% online news outlets, 15% newspapers or printed publications, and 3% radio. 4% trust podcasts and 3% trust online forums such as Reddit. Republican leaning students were far less likely to trust newspapers or printed publications (8%) than Democratic students (22%).
Over three-quarters (76%) of students are concerned about civil unrest after the election, while 59% are concerned about the transition of power should the incumbent lose. Four in 10 students (40%) are concerned about foreign interference.
Whoever wins the election, the two biggest issues students want the President to address in his first 100 days are race and social justice (22%) and the economy and jobs (22%). This is followed by healthcare (19%), climate change (16%) and student debt (5%). Students’ lowest priority for the next president was immigration with only 2% of students wanting this addressed in the first 100 days.
Other key findings:
- 30% of students had already voted by October 19th. 58% hadn’t voted yet but intend to. Only 4% don’t plan to vote, while 8% are ineligible. Students who identified as Democratic leaning were far more likely to have voted already – 38% versus 27% who identified as Republican leaning.
- Of those who said they won’t be voting in the election, 31% said their vote/this election won’t make a difference to their life while 17% said it was because they didn’t think the election would be free and fair.
- Student voting intentions are very stable. While 92% of students have not changed their minds about who to vote for in the last year, 5% say they’ve switched from Trump to Biden while 3% have switched from Biden to Trump.
- Of those who switched, 32% said it was due to the candidate’s personal conduct, 14% said it was due to their approach to Black Lives Matter, 13% said their approach to the economy and jobs, and 8% said their approach to COVID.
- Over two-thirds (67%) of students believe their vote will make a difference in the election. Over seven in 10 (72%) say their vote will make a difference for the future of the US.
- Half of students (50%) say they are proud to be an American versus 32% who say they are not proud to be an American. However, only 37% of female students say they are proud to be an American versus 64% of male students. 44% of non-white students say they are proud compared with 52% of white students.
- Republican leaning students are far more confident in the US democratic system, with 78% believing America has a strong democracy, versus 30% of Democratic leaning students.
- Despite the pandemic and economic hardship, students remain optimistic with 61% saying they are hopeful about their future. However, only 41% say they are hopeful about their country’s future with 42% saying they are not hopeful.
- Almost two-thirds (65%) of students believe the person who is president has a direct impact on their daily life. This rises to over three-quarters (76%) among LGBTQIA+ students.
- 42% of students are more interested in politics as a result of the 2020 Presidential Election campaign
- 71% of students are engaged in politics / activism.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Chegg puts students first. As the leading student-first connected learning platform, Chegg strives to improve the overall return on investment in education by helping students learn more in less time and at a lower cost. Chegg is a publicly held company based in Santa Clara, California and trades on the NYSE under the symbol CHGG. Chegg.org is the impact, advocacy, and research arm of Chegg addressing the issues facing the modern student.