Student Government (SG) presidential candidate Christopher Leddy is nervous.
The Student Alliance for a Politically Active Campus (SAPAC) is set to release the results of its first straw poll, which ended Tuesday, sometime by the end of this week as it counts votes, said SAPAC President Christopher Bonk.
In his campaign for president last year, Leddy, a senior majoring in political science and history, was a steady second in the polls.
“Last year, SAPAC did do the straw poll and that poll did turn out to be the election results, so it was very accurate,” Leddy said. “I am definitely nervous about this year’s.”
In the poll, students select which candidate they plan to vote for during election week, which is Feb. 22-25. SAPAC will hold a second straw poll Feb. 15-16 on the first floor of the Marshall Student Center next to Einstein Bros. Bagels.
“(The poll) is to predict what is going to happen. It will hopefully kick some of the campaigns off and make candidates think, ‘OK, I’m lagging behind a little bit. Maybe I should step up,'” said Bonk, a senior double majoring in political science and history. “But it’s mainly to get the word out and to make students aware that this is going on.”
SAPAC started the straw polls last year. An estimated 200 students participated in this year’s first poll, Bonk said.
“Last year, a lot of people didn’t know (the election) was going on,” he said. “A lot more this year actually knew details about the election, like when the debates are.”
In the poll, students can indicate whether or not they plan to vote. If they plan on voting, all presidential tickets and initiatives are listed for them to choose from.
That’s important because many students may not be aware of candidates’ stances, Bonk said.
Michael LeBlanc, supervisor of the Election Rules Commission and moderator of the debates, believes straw polls give students an idea of how popular their chosen candidate is.
“Straw polls are great because it gets us a kind of idea of what a small portion of the student body is thinking,” he said. “It lets us know which candidates are ahead and which candidates are behind. Straw polls allow the student body to understand who has the strongest support. If you’re supporting a candidate and they turn out badly in the straw polls, it’s not a positive thing for them.”