City Says McCain; Campus Likes Obama

by Howard W. Hewitt

October 31, 2008

Wabash College Political Science students have been doing an election year poll for the Crawfordsville community since 1972, If this year's poll is as accurate as previous efforts, Republican John McCain will carry the city of Crawfordsville but by just a small margin. Polling of the student body and faculty/staff showed a different result.

Students in Professor David Hadley's Introduction to American Politics and Parties, Elections and Interest Groups classes polled the Crawfordsville community street to street. They used proved polling techniques to get a statistical probability. Hadley said they had a lot of vacant houses and residents not at home but still managed to sample just over 200 residents.

"Historically we have come within plus or minus 4 percentage points of the actual presidential vote," the former Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman said. "Statistically, however, a random sample of 200 should be accurate within plus or minus 6 percentage points 95 percent of the time."

The poll showed McCain would win 44 percent of the vote to Barack Obama's 41 percent. Deeper inside those numbers were some interesting tidbits though. Democrats and Republicans supported their nominee with approximately 72 percent of their vote. Obama had a 44-22 percent edge among Independents. Both nominees drew 19 percent from the opposite political party.

Montgomery County strongly supports Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, according to the poll statistics. Daniels garnered 66.5 percent to Jill Long Thompson's 19.6 percent of the vote.

If there was a surprise in the county polling it might have come in the surprisingly close Congressional race. Republican incumbent Steve Buyer was shown with less than a five-point margin over Democrat Nels Ackerson, 40.2 to 35.9 percent.

The students also asked a couple of other questions. The second presidential debate was watched by 68 percent of the respondents. The other three debates, including the vice presidential matchup were all around 57-58 percent.

They also asked respondents if they approved of President George Bush's effort in the White House. Crawfordsville residents disapproved the President's performance by a 55.8 to 22.1 margin. The economy and jobs was by far and away the biggest issue within the city at 67 percent of those answering the survey questions. Health care and the Iraq war were both under 10 percent.

Wabash students, faculty and staff were given the opportunity to voice their opinions on similar questions with an electronic survey. The student response was just under 200 but the faculty/staff response was strong with 120.

Presidential Race

Students

Faculty/Staff

McCain

38%

13.8

Obama

48

84.5

Nader

2.5

  0

Barr

3.2

  1

Some one else

5.1

  0

No one

3.2

  1

Governor

Students

Faculty/Staff

Long Thompson

17.5%

44.8%

Daniels

80

49.1

Horning

 2.5

  1

Congress

Students

Faculty/Staff

Buyer

56

14.7

Ackerson

37.5

73.3

Student and Faculty Party Preference

Student

Faculty/Staff

Democrat

29.1%

61.2%

Independent

26.6

25.0

Repubican

36.7

12.1

Other

  7.6

  1.7

Approval/Disapproval of Job George Bush is doing as President:

Students

Faculty/Staff

Approve

19.6

  6.0

Disapprove

61.4

88.8

Other (app/disapp)

15.2

  3.4

 

 


Wabash College • P.O. Box 352 • Crawfordsville, IN 47933 • 765.361.6100