By HANNAH CREASEY /// Staff Writer
AS NOV. 8 approaches, the likelihood that election polls will predict our next president increases. The Washington Post and Morning Consult both released wide-scope polls, each reaching 50 states and a combined total of about 92,000 voters. The results were surprising. While both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have at least four-point leads in 20 states, Clinton has a leg-up in the electoral college. The Washington Post showed her prospective votes totaling 244 to Trump’s 126, while Morning Consult’s more recent poll showed Clinton with 258.
Traditionally red states, including Texas, Arizona and Georgia, showed an unprecedented increase in support for the Democratic Party. Though Clinton’s post-convention lead has narrowed and Trump has an edge in Iowa and Ohio, shifting demographics could mean trouble for his campaign. With the election only 8 weeks out, the Republican Party has to scramble to recover grounds that were historically considered GOP strongholds.
In 2012, Obama lost Texas by 16 points. However, this election cycle shows the lone-star state as a dead heat, with Clinton pulling ahead by just 1 percent as reported by The Washington Post. This may be due to a divisive split among national demographics. According to CNN/ORC, Washington Post and Morning Consult polls, gaps include gender, race, marital-status and education.
Some of the breakdown resembles usual party lines. Clinton has 31 more points with non-white voters than with whites, while Trump is reversed, holding 31 more points with whites than with other ethnicities. The GOP is leading in men and married women, while Democrats have the favor of single women. Trump gains the support of older voters while Clinton resonates with younger populations.
However, results for white, college-educated voters were shocking to some. For Henry Atkins ’20 of Harvard University, it was not surprising.
“In Georgia, Arizona, and Texas – as well of as the nation – the percentage of minority voters is rising,” Atkins said in an interview with the Pioneer Log. “We’re seeing a lot more voters entering the electorate in those states and they are becoming more and more competitive.”
Republicans usually claim this demographic. For example, Republican Mitt Romney beat Democrat Barack Obama for the white, college-grad vote in 2012 with 56-42 percent. However, this cycle is opposite. According to The Washington Post, Clinton is beating Trump in 31 out of 50 states with white, college-grads and is close in 6 more. This switch marks an unprecedented change in the political climate. As degree-seekers, this current atmosphere has the potential to significantly impact college students at Lewis & Clark and elsewhere.
Voters under 25 usually have a low turnout. However, for Atkins, this election is especially urgent for youth.
“This is an important referendum for who we are as a people… Not voting is not a valid form of protest this year. It is more a stance of privilege than anything else,” Atkins said. However, he is optimistic about the power of the youth vote.
“Youth voters not maximizing the power of our voice leaves our country at risk of being stuck in the past on some very important issues,” Atkins said. “If young voters do mobilize successfully, there’s no limit to what we can do.”
For Anna Merkt ’19, an out-of-state LC student, voting will be a little more difficult.
“The laws for absentee voting vary state by state and are subject to change,” Merkt said. “I’m looking forward to voting, but there were a lot of hoops to jump through.”
At LC, the office of Student Activities Director Jason Feiner is happy to provide resources for interested students.
“The Pioneer Voter and Civic Engagement Information website hosted by Student Activities at go.lclark.edu/voter has great resources listed about voter registration and how to get involved in the election,” Feiner said. “Also, we will be hosting viewing gatherings for the upcoming debates in the Council Chamber.” Feiner added that ASLC will be hosting National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 27. For more information, check out the student activities website.