Home Politics Students tell senate candidates what they want in recent poll

Students tell senate candidates what they want in recent poll

6 min read

With just a few days left until election day, student senate hopefuls may want to consider highlighting past student senate accomplishments, improving visibility and providing free food.

Those were three top choices of 100 students who answered an anonymous New Political poll about campaign season. More accomplishments by student senate polled as the overwhelming top choice at 44 percent of participants.

On a scale of concern for the election’s results, 32 percent were “moderately concerned” about the results of the election. 29 percent were “very concerned,” 17 were “slightly concerned,” and 19 do not care at all.

Those figures of course reflect the problem with all polling: the population already interested in the topic feels more compelled to take the survey, possibly skewing the votes to reflect a population more enthusiastic than the whole of OU.

Yet some trends are apparent, and may be less obvious than a college town’s love of free food. For example, Students who forgot or didn’t care to vote last year were 63 percent more likely to vote for FUSS and only 32 percent more likely to vote VOICE.

Supporters of FUSS were overall more enthusiastic. They were dominantly “very concerned” (at 41 percent), while VOICE supporters were mostly “moderately concerned” at 43 percent.

This could fare well for FUSS if they rally up enough concerned voters, or limit their voting pool mainly to students actively concerned with items like tuition freeze. This makes sense, as many FUSS supporters are passionate in OU’s student protest circles.

“I strongly oppose the guaranteed tuition hike model and want an exec board that will fight it actively,” one student said. “Also, in general I want the exec board to really go to bat for student interests, and I trust FUSS to do that over VOICE.”

VOICE’s strength is, of course, experience between the members of the exec board. Some students who even believe in FUSS’s enthusiasm may still question their ability to put ideas in motion.

“I think experience is important in an organization like student senate because whoever is in office there is a lot of bureaucratic crap to go through,” said one student. “It will take a while for new people to learn it and during this time the students lose effective representation.”

Students may be less surprised that individuals who voted for third party Jared Henderson as president last year are more likely to vote for FUSS this year. The split between past voters of REACH and yOU was split evenly.

Polled students do plan on voting, at 78 percent.

But too much optimism for voter turnout may be unfounded. The New Political reported last year a voter turnout of about 2,000 students, just half of the 4,000 who voted the year prior. OU’s undergraduate population settles around 17,000.

Some students’ responses reflected a disenchanted feeling to the whole process, therefore waning any motivation to vote.

“Neither one of the parties can do anything to fix the state of senate. Senate is irrelevant and if this past year is any indication of years to come,” said one student. “They will just continue to spend students money on themselves and events only senate goes to.”

Other responses reflected a lack of education needed to pick between the two, or even high hopes for a combination of ideas from a mixed ticket.

“I like FUSS’ core ideas with VOICE’s flair to get attention as well as they’re recreational ideas,” one student said. “I think a combination would be best. FUSS for the important aspects and VOICE for the promotional and attention grabbing things.”

Candidates will undoubtedly bring their A-games to the April 18. And if they happen to have any free food on hand, that can’t hurt, either.

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