As students progress through their time at Andover, presidential candidate platform ideas exert increasingly less influence on the students’ votes. At the same time, candidates’ speaking ability becomes more important to students, according to a survey conducted by The Phillipian following the 2012 Presidential Election.
223 students responded to the online survey, which was distributed to the entire Andover student body. 94 percent of these students said that they voted in the election.
A decreasing trend, 70 percent of Juniors, 66 percent of Lowers, 65 percent of Uppers and 49 percent of Seniors said that platform ideas influenced their vote.
By contrast, 82 percent of students in the Class of 2015 said that they look for speaking ability in a presidential candidate, while 85 percent in the Class of 2014, 85 percent in the Class of 2013 and 86 percent in the Class of 2012 responded similarly, an increasing trend.
90 percent of surveyed Uppers, classmates of the presidential candidates, voted based on personal knowledge of candidates. This same response was chosen by 80.4 percent of Seniors, 71.2 percent of Lowers and 77.8 percent of Juniors.
Although 77 percent of surveyed students maintain that gender did not affect their vote in the 2012 Presidential election, only 51.6 percent of these students thought that both genders have an equal chance at winning the election.
Sixty-three percent of student responses came from females, and 36.8 percent of responses came from males.
81 percent of females answered that gender did not affect their decision, while 69.2 percent of males said the same.
Males and females agreed on whether a particular gender of candidate is more suited to win. 49.4 percent of males and 47.5 of females said that males are more naturally suited to win. Only one percent of students said that female presidential candidates are more suited to win.
67 percent of the surveyed members of the Class of 2015 believe that both genders of candidates have an equal chance of winning, while 50 percent of students in the other three classes agreed with this response.
7 percent of female students said that a candidate’s gender affected their decision in favor of male candidates, compared to the 28.2 percent of male students who said the same.
12 percent of female students said that a candidate’s gender affected their decisions in favor of female candidates, while 2.6 percent of male students said the same.
All-School Meeting speeches and personal knowledge of candidates proved the most significant factors in determining students’ votes, as both responses were chosen by 81 percent of the students surveyed.
One student responding to the survey selected the “Other” response and wrote, “I vote based on platform ideas for the first two rounds. For the third round, I vote on speaking ability, sense of humor and representative ability. By the time there are three finalists who will be on Student Council, all their ideas are going to be heard and considered equally, regardless of what ‘rank’ they are, so I vote for the person who can speak most effectively to a crowd.”
Fifty-four Seniors, 82 Uppers, 60 Lowers and 27 Juniors responded to the survey.
73 percent of respondents voted in the first round, 81.8 percent in the second round and 93.8 percent in the final election round.