NEW POLL: College Students and the 2012 Presidential Election

September 19, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Politics News
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have a comfortable lead over their GOP rivals amongst college women, this according to a new poll by Her Campus Media, the parent company of, the #1 online community for college women with chapters at 200+ schools across the country.

More than 700 college women between ages 18-24 were surveyed on a bevy of election topics from September 10-16, 2012. Given the demographics of the poll, the majority of the participants will step into a voting booth for the first time in November.

The Obama-Biden ticket leads Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan 67.1 percent to 20.8 percent, with 6.7 percent undecided and 3.1 percent planning to vote for another candidate. When asked for their political affiliation, 30.1 percent of poll respondents were registered Democrats, while 22.7 percent considered themselves Democrat, but were not formally registered. Only 12.9 percent of responses came from registered Republicans, while 27.9 percent weren't affiliated with either party.

Students overwhelmingly approve of President Obama's first three years in office, with 52.1 percent of those surveyed giving him a 'B' for his job thus far. 15.6 percent of responses gave the Commander in Chief an 'A' grade, while another 15.6 gave him a 'C'. Only 7.6 percent felt the President deserved a failing grade for his performance from 2009-2012.

"It's the economy, stupid!"

When pressed on the major issues in the Presidential election, college students put dollars and cents over social issues.

The National Debt (37.3 percent) was seen as the most important issue facing America this November, followed by Unemployment (29.6 percent) and Healthcare (16.1 percent). While Social Issues were seen as the fourth choice (11.3 percent), they ranked second on a list of the most important issues facing individuals heading to the ballot box (25.1 percent). As expected, Student Loan Debt topped a concerned college crowd with 32.3 percent of those respondents saying it was the most important election issue facing them in 2012.

With the poll's exclusivity to college women, it is no surprise that women's rights will factor into the audience's decision at the polls. More than half (55.0 percent) of those surveyed said that issues like abortion were 'very important' and will help directly influence their vote, while 33.5 percent said that they were 'somewhat important.' Just over 10 percent (10.3) said that women's rights issues took a backseat to more important national issues that could be deemed more important at this time.

The Conventions and Paul Ryan

The majority (58.9 percent) of those who responded to the Her Campus poll said that they watched a portion of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, with most (43.7 percent) watching between 1-3 hours.

While the GOP convention was viewed as a platform for the national introduction of Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and his VP choice Paul Ryan, the two did not get off on the right foot with college women. 32.3 percent of those polled said that the RNC didn't change their perception of Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts Governor, while 30.2 percent said that it changed for the worse. Only 9.4 percent claimed that the pomp and circumstance improved their view of the GOP Presidential nominee.

A stunning 55.1 percent of those surveyed don't view Mr. Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin, in a favorable light, while 27.1 percent share a neutral view. Ryan did place second, behind President Obama as to which of the four men vying for the honor of President/Vice President is most dateable with 24.1 percent of the vote.

Social Media and the News Cycle

As this country's most active users of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms, today's college student is utilizing new technology to keep track of election happenings. 49.3 percent of those polled follow at least one of the candidates via social media with the majority of those who do (88.9 percent) following President Obama. Only 7.2 percent of those surveyed follow both candidates, while only 25.3 percent of those who followed a candidate tracked Governor Romney.

Social media sites also placed second (67.8 percent) to internet news sites like and the Drudge Report (74.7 percent) as the place college students receive their election news coverage. Newspapers received 46.6 percent of the vote, 24-hour news channels managed 44.2 percent, followed by nightly news programs (39.6 percent) and parody TV news shows like 'The Daily Show' and 'Saturday Night Live' (37.3 percent).

Relationships, Moms and Khloe Kardashian

While social media and politics may make for some uncomfortable confrontations amongst friends and followers, political status updates (41.3 percent) are still not seen as annoying as friends who post gushy relationship photos online (58.7 percent). Michelle Obama, seen by many college women as a popular and inspiring figure would be 'the cool mom', or at least, cooler than Ann Romney, amongst those polled, with 81.9 percent saying that they'd rather have Michelle Obama as a parent than Mitt Romney's wife Ann.

And last but not least, of the Kardashians who would handle themselves best in the Oval Office, Khloe is seen as 'Most Presidential,' with 46.1 percent of the vote, followed by Kourtney (25.6 percent), Kendall Jenner (12.2 percent), Kim (8.7 percent) and Kylie Jenner (7.5 percent).

Time Period September 10-16, 2012
Audience 730 college women at colleges and universities across the US
Age range: 18-24 years-old

Are you registered to vote in the upcoming Presidential election?
Yes: 86.3 percent
No: 11.9 percent
Not Sure: 1.9 percent

Do you plan on voting in the upcoming election?
Yes: 91.4 percent
No: 3.5 percent
Not Sure: 5.1 percent

Which candidate do you plan to vote for?
Barack Obama and Joe Biden: 67.1 percent
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: 20.8 percent
Another Candidate: 3.1 percent
Undecided: 6.7 percent
I'm Not Going to Vote: 2.3 percent

Do you have a political affiliation?
Yes, I'm a registered Democrat: 30.1 percent
Yes, I'm a registered Republican: 12.9 percent
Yes, I consider myself a Democrat, but I am not registered: 22.7 percent
Yes, I consider myself a Republican, but I am not registered: 6.4 percent
No, I am not affiliated with either party: 27.9 percent

What, in your opinion, is the most important issue (for America) in the upcoming Presidential election?
Healthcare: 16.1 percent
The National Debt: 37.3 percent
Unemployment: 29.6 percent
Social Issues: 11.3 percent
Student Loan Debt: 2.3 percent
Other: 3.4 percent

What is the most important issue for you (personally) in the upcoming Presidential election?
Healthcare: 13.3 percent
The National Debt: 9.8 percent
Unemployment: 19.5 percent
Social Issues: 25.1 percent
Student Loan Debt: 32.3 percent

How important are women's rights issues in this Presidential election?
Very important - I will vote for my candidate because of their stance: 55.0 percent
Somewhat important - I care about them, but it won't make or break my vote: 33.5 percent
Not important - We have more important issues that are a bigger priority: 10.3 percent
Not sure / Don't know: 1.2 percent

What grade would you give President Obama for the job he's done as President thus far?
A: 15.6 percent
B: 52.1 percent
C: 15.6 percent
D: 9.2 percent
F: 7.6 percent

Did you watch either the Republican National Convention or the Democratic National Convention? If so, how much?
No: 41.1 percent
Yes - 1-3 hours: 43.7 percent
Yes - 3-5 hours: 9.5 percent
Yes - 5+ hours: 5.7 percent

Has your view of Governor Mitt Romney changed since the Republican National Convention?
Yes, for better: 9.4 percent
Yes, for worse: 30.2 percent
Neutral: 28.2 percent
No: 32.3 percent

Has your view of President Obama changed since the Democratic National Convention?
Yes, for better: 35.8 percent
Yes, for worse: 7.2 percent
Neutral: 26.3 percent
No: 30.7 percent

What is your opinion of GOP Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan?
Favorable: 17.8 percent
Neutral: 27.1 percent
Not Favorable: 55.1 percent

Do you follow the Presidential candidates on social media?
Yes, I follow President Obama: 37.4 percent
Yes, I follow Governor Romney: 5.5 percent
Yes, I follow both candidates: 7.2 percent
No, I don't follow either candidate: 50.7 percent

Which is more annoying?
Friends who post political status updates on social media: 41.3 percent
Friends who post gushy relationship photos: 58.7 percent

Where do you receive news on the 2012 Presidential election?
24 Hour Cable News (I.E. MSNBC, FOX News, CNN): 44.2 percent
Network News Shows (I.E. NBC Nightly News, TODAY, CBS Evening News): 39.6 percent
Parody TV News Shows (I.E. Saturday Night Live, Comedy Central): 37.3 percent
Newspapers: 46.6 percent
Radio: 21.6 percent
Social Media: 67.8 percent
Internet News Sites (I.E., Drudge Report): 74.7 percent

What is your preferred method of receiving news on the 2012 Presidential election?
24 Hour Cable News (I.E. MSNBC, FOX News, CNN): 16.4 percent
Network News Shows (I.E. NBC Nightly News, TODAY, CBS Evening News): 9.0 percent
Parody TV News Shows (I.E. Saturday Night Live, Comedy Central): 9.1 percent
Newspapers: 7.1 percent
Radio: 3.2 percent
Social Media: 15.1 percent
Internet News Sites (I.E., Drudge Report): 40.0 percent

Of the following, who would make the best date?
Barack Obama: 64.6 percent
Joe Biden: 5.6 percent
Mitt Romney: 5.6 percent
Paul Ryan: 24.1 percent

Who would you rather have as your mom?
Michelle Obama: 81.9 percent
Ann Romney: 18.1 percent

Which Kardashian would make the best President?
Kim: 8.7 percent
Kourtney: 25.6 percent
Khloe: 46.1 percent
Kendall Jenner: 12.2 percent
Kylie Jenner: 7.5 percent

Link to the entire poll:
Link to first Her Campus Presidential Survey (August, 2012):

About Her Campus
Her Campus ( is the #1 online community for college women with chapters at 200+ colleges across the country, supplementing national content with local content, produced entirely by the nation's top student journalists. Her Campus also serves as a marketing platform connecting companies with college students across the country in creative ways.

Founded by three Harvard students - Stephanie Kaplan '10, Windsor Hanger '10, and Annie Wang '11 Her Campus launched in September 2009 after winning Harvard's business plan competition, and has since grown to 1 million monthly readers with chapters at 200+ colleges. The company has formed content partnerships with Seventeen magazine, SELF magazine and The Huffington Post, and worked with clients including Victoria's Secret, Intel, Bing, LOFT, New Balance, Pinkberry, Contiki, west elm and popchips among others.

Her Campus is a 2011 winner and was named Best All-Around Team in MassChallenge, the world's largest startup competition. Her Campus has been featured in the The New York Times, Yahoo Finance, Fast Company, Forbes, PR Week, Mashable, The Economist, AOL Money College, CNN Money, CBS MoneyWatch, Business Insider, U.S. News & World Report, and on ABC News Now and Fox25 News, among others. The Her Campus co-founders have been named to BusinessWeek's 25 Under 25 Best Young Entrepreneurs, Inc. magazine's 30 Under 30 Coolest Young Entrepreneurs, Glamour magazine's 20 Amazing Young Women, and The Boston Globe's 25 Most Stylish Bostonians.