Partisanship and Ideology on Campus

As part of my Gov 3020 (Money and Politics) course, we fielded a poll of Bowdoin students in mid-September and asked them a few questions about campaign financing (more on that in a separate post).  We also asked about political ideology and preference in the Democratic nomination battle.  The poll went out to 500 randomly selected students, with over 260 responding.  There is a slight bias towards first-years in the respondent pool, but over 60 students from each class responded.

We asked: “Generally speaking, on a scale of 0-100, with 0 being very liberal and 100 being very conservative, where would you place your own political views?”  The distribution of those responses is below, showing a clear skew towards the liberal end of the spectrum.  I’ve found this in other polls of Bowdoin students in previous years.


We next asked about the Democratic battle to take on Donald Trump.  69 percent of the respondents indicated that they would be voting in the Democratic primary next year (with half of these saying they intend to vote in Maine and the other half saying a different state’s primary).  The distribution of preferences are below.


There is a clear preference for Senator Warren, followed by Bernie Sanders.  Well over half of Democratic students (~54 percent), in fact, prefer these two candidates, widely recognized as the two most liberal candidates in the pool of contenders.  Interestingly, Andrew Yang came in 5th, with 6.4 percent support among campus Democrats.  This beats a host of more established elected officials in the race.

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