In order to better understand what happened in last week’s US election, and perhaps also to encourage more students to both register and vote in the NEXT election, I created a very simple one-question survey using SurveyMonkey and arranged for it to be sent to all Economics students at Boston University. I first polled graduate (Ph.D. and MA) students, and then undergraduate majors and students in principles of economics courses. Among the first 515 respondents (which happened in four days) I found that among people eligible to vote, 76% of undergraduates and 81% of graduate students in the economics program voted. Reflecting the high fraction of people who are foreigners in our programs, 33% of undergraduates and 65% of graduate student respondents were not eligible to vote. Among those potentially eligible to vote, 4% of BU undergraduates reported that they had made some effort to try to register or vote, but were unable to. For example, their request for an absentee ballot was ignored or the ballot arrived too late, or they could not vote absentee the first time they were voting, or some other specified reason.
This is of course not a random sample of all voters, but reflects those who replied to my request.
If you would like to implement the same poll at your university or college, please send me an email privately and I will send you a customized poll for your university that you can use at no cost. The email I used to invite people to respond is below.
Surveymonkey will let you conduct a free poll with up to 50 responses, or get up to 1000 responses for only $26 for the first month. I would be happy to collaborate for free for the first ten collaborators at other universities or colleges.
Detailed BU Economics Poll results
Full text of inviting email:
I am a professor in the Economics Department at Boston University who is trying to better understand the recent election results.
I would appreciate it if you would answer this ONE QUESTION survey about the election which I am sending only to BU students.
Please answer it only once and do not forward it.
Once you respond, you will see the responses of other students at Boston University who have already replied. You do not need to be a US citizen or be eligible to vote to answer this survey. I do not ask you who you voted for.
The survey results are confidential: I am not tracking the URLs of those who have responded.
Thank you in advance for your participation.
In a few days I will post a summary of the results on my blog which is linked here.
Randall P. Ellis, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Economics, Boston University