With 19 days until the national election, Hillsdale College students favor presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Of 493 respondents, a Collegian survey found that more than 43 percent are planning to cast their ballots for the Republican Party’s nominee. That is comparable to the 41 percent he gets nationally among likely voters in a four-way race, according to Rasmussen Reports. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, however, is polling at 42 percent nationally, far surpassing the 6 percent pledging their vote to her at Hillsdale.
Sophomore Garrison Grisdale said he is voting for Trump and wasn’t surprised that the Republican nominee didn’t receive an overwhelming majority on one of the most conservative college campuses in America.
“I don’t think Hillsdale is an accurate representation of America as a whole,” Grisdale said. “Hillsdale is very unique. In the wake of WikiLeaks, this is feeling very much like an existential election for America. It is about the people versus the elites, Americanism versus globalism. I don’t think many Hillsdale students will go and change their minds on Trump before election, but I think Americans as a whole will probably come out for him.”
Many not supporting Trump are looking to Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, who received more than 20 percent of the votes on campus. Behind him, independent Evan McMullin took more than 11 percent.
“I think if McMullin came in earlier, he’d be ahead of Johnson at Hillsdale,” Classical Liberal Organization President junior Noah Weinrich said, noting that the Libertarian candidate is pro-abortion rights and has made gaffes on foreign policy.
Associate Professor of Economics Charles Steele said when it comes to the actual election, voting for a third party is futile.
“They don’t have a chance,” he said.
Yet, some students might have had enough with the presidential election. More than 10 percent of respondents said they would either only vote down ticket or wouldn’t participate in the election at all this year.
Weinrich said he found these results concerning, especially from those who aren’t planning to vote at all, given that the Senate could go to the Republicans or Democrats after this election.
Finishing out the survey results, the Constitution Party’s Darrell Castle received 2 percent, Green Party candidate Jill Stein earned 1 percent, Emidio Mimi Soltysik of the Natural Law Party garnered less than 1 percent, and 4 percent chose “other.”
Steele noted that write-in, independent candidate Laurence Kotlikoff was not included in the survey.
“He is, without question, the single best candidate for getting the budget under control,” Steele said.
As for Trump, Weinrich said he understands many at Hillsdale are voting for him reluctantly, believing Clinton would be a worse president.
“But I think it’s disappointing,” Weinrich said. “One of the criticisms of President Bill Clinton is his impurities, but Trump is doing the exact same thing if not worse.”
Weinrich said he thinks given Hillsdale students’ conservative leanings, the number voting for the Republican Party’s candidate is low compared to past elections.
“He still doesn’t have a majority here,” Weinrich said. “I think that’s encouraging.”
However, Professor of Politics Thomas West, who has endorsed Trump, said he thinks students’ hesitancy to voice support for the GOP candidate is dangerous for America.
“What I get in class is a very strong sense that Trump supporters don’t want to talk publicly about their support for him because they don’t want to make their friends mad,” West said. “It’s the most interesting and important election of my lifetime. I don’t think there are more than a small percentage of students who recognize that. This is the future of America we are talking about. Hillary is the most criminal, corrupt, and most evil candidate to probably ever run for the presidency. And the idea that people on this campus would throw away their vote to not oppose her is shocking to me.”