Happy Election Day!

On the eve of the 2022 midterm elections, as the country is poised for a potential shift in the political landscape of Congress, Fairfield University students have become politically engaged as well. The election, which will greatly hinge upon American opinions on the economy, abortion and crime, is reportedly likely to see the Republican party take control of the House of Representatives. Many Senate races have also shifted in favor of the GOP in the final days of their campaigns.

To gauge student participation in the elections, The Rearview conducted an Instagram survey on November 7. Students were asked whether or not they had already voted, as well as any reasons for not voting. 64 percent of respondents said that they had voted, while 36 percent said that they had not. The most commonly cited reasons for non-participation were general business and difficulty in obtaining or casting a ballot. Some respondents had also yet to cast their votes, but were planning on traveling home to do so on Election Day.

The 64 percent sample is considerably higher than the 51.4 percent of 18-24 year-olds who voted in the 2020 election. However, it nevertheless reflects the consistent trend of low youth turnout in modern American elections.

Jack Martorano ‘23, the president of the Fairfield University Student Crystal Ball (FUSCB), has been at the forefront of student polling since founding the organization in 2020. Since the beginning of the semester, FUSCB has been assembling its predictions for various key races in the midterms.

Martorano offered some commentary on low turnout by Fairfield students and young voters in general, as well as the difficulties of creating accurate polling results in 2022.

“Although voting by mail has increased in popularity since the pandemic, the process can still be a complex one for students voting for the first time,” said Martorano. “When you combine that with the fact that most Fairfield students live in states in the northeast with races that are usually considered ‘safe’, you get low engagement from students.”

FUSCB’s efforts to create an effective, consistent polling metric has largely been in response to increased polling errors in the US since the 2016 election. In that election, pollsters were caught largely unawares by a surprise presidential victory by Donald Trump; the trend has only continued since then.

Martorano continued, “We’ve consistently seen Republican voters undercounted in polls for a number of reasons, mostly due to non-response bias. Compared to rural Republicans, Democrats simply appear more willing to participate in polls. FUSCB’s goal is to cut through that bias through a more comprehensive examination of the political factors.”

FUSCB’s final predictions for the midterms, which predict a narrow Republican majority in both houses of Congress, are now available on its Twitter page. These predictions are the result of weeks of preparation and debate among the organization’s student members as to the likely outcome of the elections.

“At the end of the day, polls are just an effort to provide the best possible approximation of the outcome of a race,” said Martorano. “But nothing is set in stone. No matter how the polls might portray the races, it is still important to get out and vote.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *