Election day is finally here, and if you’re anything like us, you’re low-key freaking out over who’s going to win. That election anxiety means it's a great time to reflect on the past year! You can probably guess the vote of college women in this election—but it wasn’t always this way. We conducted three pre-election surveys in the last year that show how the opinions of college women changed as candidates, scandals and distractions came and went. Happy voting!
Pre-Election Survey #1, Oct. 2015: Bernie Sanders is the pick of college women.
In our first survey, what really stood out was our reader’s overwhelming support of Bernie Sanders. Not only did they have a positive impression of him—over 60 percent—but 44 percent said they would vote for him at that moment if they could.
In this survey, we saw that among hot-button campaign issues, college women care the most about reproductive rights. This has held true in every survey.
Pre-Election Survey #2, May 2016: Hillary Clinton loses college women’s positive opinion.
The Sanders love continued and even grew in the second survey. This time, 68 percent had a positive impression of him and a full 50 percent said they would vote for him over the other candidates. Even better for Bernie, the number of women who said they didn’t know who he was dropped from 7 to 0.2 percent from the first to the second survey.
Unfortunately, things took a downward turn for Clinton between the first and the second survey—she lost college women’s positive opinion. In the first survey, 40 percent had a positive impression of Clinton and 33 percent had a negative impression. But in the second survey, it was the opposite. Thirty-two percent had a positive impression, while 41 percent had a negative impression.
Pre-Election Survey #3, Sept. 2016: Clinton is in the lead, but not because college women like her.
By the time of our third pre-election survey this fall, Bernie Sanders had dropped out of the race. College women knew what that meant—60 percent said they would vote for Clinton. However, 60 percent of Clinton voters also said they felt like they were voting for the lesser of two evils.
In the third survey, our readers also had a different set of top three issues from the previous surveys. While reproductive rights, education and the economy had dominated the first two surveys, gun control jumped into the top three in the third survey. This may have had something to do with recent attacks, such as the Pulse shooting in Orlando.