USA Today, FOX News and CNN all have their own polls to track national public opinion. Today, USF will join the ranks with its own straw poll to survey how students plan on voting.
The poll, which is sponsored by Pi Sigma Alpha — a political science honor society — the Honors College and Student Government, is designed to determine the political stand of the USF student demographic.
“Younger voters are critical in this election,” said Susan MacManus, political science professor and adviser to Pi Sigma Alpha.
Students will bubble in the reasons for their presidential choice, as well as their main source of election news, and answer demographic questions regarding race/ethnicity, gender and age.
In addition to determining student opinion, MacManus said she hopes the straw poll will educate students about the six constitutional amendments on the ballot, which address various issues including illegal immigrants and gay marriage. Jeff Heller, a senior majoring in political science and economics and Pi Sigma Alpha president, said most students don’t know about the amendments.
Frank Maltesta, SG director of community and government affairs, said he hopes the poll negates the stereotype of the apathetic college student.
“It’s really important to show through the straw poll that students care,” Maltesta said.
The January straw poll for the primaries showed that Barack Obama and Ron Paul were the campus favorites. It received about 1,800 responses. MacManus said she hopes to get about 3,000 this time.
The straw poll takes place today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at six designated locations: the Marshall Student Center, Cooper Hall, the Business Building, MLK Plaza, the Social Science Building and the Engineering Building.
The results of the straw poll will be distributed no later than 5 p.m.