The newly founded Student Alliance for a Politically Active Campus (SAPAC) is trying to raise awareness of the Student Body Presidential Election through its first campus-wide Student Government straw poll.
The group conducted the SG straw poll last week and will poll students again Wednesday.
Christian Marble, president of SAPAC, said the group decided to conduct the poll over two weeks to see if campaigning influenced students from week to week or any trends could be noted.
Two hundred twelve students voted in the poll last Wednesday. Poll results were based on the responses of the 187 students polled who plan to vote in the real SG Presidential Election.
Presidential candidate Juan Carlos Soltero and running mate Bruno Di Portigliatti lead the straw poll after the first week, with 31.5 percent.
Candidates Christopher Leddy and Kayla Richmond were supported by 24.5 percent of voters, Christopher Cano and Jaime Lane by 14.9 percent, Ralph Reid and Robin Roup by 10.6 percent, and Torend Ebner Jr., who dropped out of the race last week, by 2 percent.
The remaining students polled, 16 percent, remained undecided.
The SAPAC ballot also asked students to express their opinion concerning the green fee. It was supported by 73.7 percent of those polled.
Marble said SAPAC polled students at two locations on campus — the Marshall Student Center and Cooper Hall.
“Obviously the poll was limited in terms of where it was offered,” said professor and political analyst Susan MacManus. “People sometimes don’t go to the Marshall (Student) Center. You aren’t going to capture a lot of the night students.”
The SG straw poll is useful for gauging student opinion before the official election, MacManus said.
“I don’t think you can say it’s a scientific poll in the nature of Gallup,” she said. “It’s just kind of to give an idea of who among the student activists they are leaning toward right now.”
MacManus said she has advised campus-wide straw polls for both presidential elections and governors’ ratings for years, and that it is difficult to obtain enough students to work poll stations all around campus.
Though SAPAC had only two polling locations, MacManus thinks the poll still deserves credit.
“You can’t toss it out the window as being not useful because it has different purposes. It would be a probative kind of poll,” she said. “It’s educating the student body about the fact that student elections are going on, because if you come to school at night you don’t know too much.
MacManus said the straw poll lets candidates know students are following the election.
“They are working themselves to death to try to get people’s attention and call attention to the election,” she said. “This is a way to at least make more people pay attention.”