In an effort to help inform student voters, Matt Motta ’13 constructed a poll on this year’s Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) presidential and vice presidential elections. WSA Vice President and Chair of the Organizational and External Affairs Committee (OEAC) Mari Jarris ’14, WSA Student Affairs Committee Chair Nicole Updegrove ’14, and Keith Conway ’16 are running for president, while Finance and Facilities Chair Andrew Trexler ’14 and Vice-Chair of the OEAC Chloe Murtagh ’15 are running for vice president.
The poll was posted on Wesleying, and Motta asked a range of questions about voter opinions, including the level of voter confidence and voter sentiment in relation to the WSA, using a feelings thermometer. He explained that an analysis of the poll reveals noteworthy results and that he hopes the University community will appreciate an empirical understanding of the races.
“Voters’ interests and voters’ confidence seems to draw a line between the two candidates,” Motta said. “It seems like interested voters prefer Nicole, and they are more confident in their decisions. It’s still a tight race, and I am glad people are going to get a chance to look at this.”
Motta, a graduating senior and government major, is interested in political science and decided to spend his spare time creating this poll.
“I’ve never done this before,” he said. “I have never been involved with WSA politics before and have no affiliation with the WSA. I just thought it would be a fun thing to do for my senior year.”
Motta noted that, though Updegrove requested to see the results, he initiated the poll because of his own personal interest, and the methods used to obtain data were not slanted toward any one candidate.
“While Nicole expressed an interest to me about the results, the methodology was completely unbiased,” Motta wrote in a message to The Argus. “In fact, it wouldn’t do anyone reading the numbers any good if that wasn’t true.”
Motta acknowledged that although the methodology of the poll was unbiased, the scope of participants is limited because the survey was mainly posted on Wesleying, with some Facebook publicity as well.
“There is a bias to people who responded to this as it is the people who check Wesleying,” Motta said. “But the people who actually have enough motivation to go out and vote should be relatively similar to the people who check Wesleying.”
According to Motta, 114 students started the poll, and 54 people finished it.
“I had to drop some of them because they aren’t actually Wesleyan students,” Motta explained. “I also had to drop some of the people that did not complete the poll, although I factored them into one of the questions in order to get a clearer picture.”
The poll revealed that people who did not finish the survey were less likely to have already chosen a candidate. Responses to a question about the degree of voter engagement illustrated that most undecided participants have spent time thinking about the election despite their indecision.
Students of all class years can vote now at wsa.wesleyan.edu/voting. Voting lasts until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 26.