By Daniel Johnson-Kim, Editor in Chief
At ACU, Sen. John McCain’s supporters outnumber Sen. Barack Obama’s; there exist more liberals and fewer conservatives than perceived, and the economy is the No. 1 issue on campus, according to an unscientific online survey conducted by the JMC Network, which produces the Optimist and the Students’ Association.
The survey was sent through e-mail to the entire student body and to the faculty, staff and administrators in a monthly newsletter. A link to the survey also was published at www.acuoptimist.com.
Eight-hundred-eightyseven students, 19 faculty, three administrators and 49 staff members took the survey for a total of 955 participants. Fifteen percent of the students who were polled were freshmen, 14 percent were sophomores, 20 percent were juniors, 31 percent were seniors and 20 percent were graduate students.
Among the 887 students polled, 50 percent said they supported McCain, 27 percent said they supported Obama, nine percent said they were undecided, nine percent said they were not voting and five percent said they were supporting another candidate.
A plurality of the participants described themselves as “moderates” (40 percent), while 32 percent said their political views could be defined as “conservative;” 14 percent defined themselves as “liberal;” seven percent said they were “very conservative;” three percent considered themselves “very liberal;” and four percent said they were “apathetic.”
That was in opposition to the perceptions of the “most popular political view in the ACU community.” Fifty percent said ACU was overwhelmingly “conservative,” while 26 percent said the majority of community members were “moderate.” Eleven percent said ACU was “very conservative,” while nine percent said ACU was “liberal,” and two percent said ACU was “very liberal” and “apathetic.”
Much like a plethora of national polls, the economy is the No. 1 issue of importance to the ACU community. Thirty-Five percent of those who participated ranked the economy as the No. 1 issue, while social issues like abortion and gay marriage were the No. 1 issue for 23 percent of the survey sampling. The least important issue among the six choices – the economy, foreign policy, healthcare, the environment, energy and social issues – was the environment. Twenty-seven percent ranked the environment last in importance. Close behind were social issues like gay marriage and abortion; 24 percent ranked social issues last.
An overwhelming majority (89 percent) voiced that Christians should be involved in the political process, and 65 percent of those polled said the media have covered the 2008 Presidential Election unfairly.
Fifty percent said Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin brought the most to their political party’s ticket. Eighty-two percent of those polled said race, gender and age did not affect their vote, while 14 percent said the age of a candidate would affect their vote. Seven percent said the race of a candidate would influence their vote, and six percent voiced that the gender of a candidate influenced their vote.