Campus News

Study: UH turned blue in 2016 election


A study published by the Graduate College of Social Work and the Hobby School of Public Affairs shows that more than 70 percent of undergraduate students supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Maybe UH should change its official color to blue.

Last year, members of the Graduate College of Social Work and the Hobby School of Public Affairs ran an undergraduate survey to conclude that UH students overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, despite living in a predominantly Republican state.

“Millennials are the most diverse generation in the history of the United States,” said Suzanne Pritzker, the GCSW associate professor who helped to conduct the study. “It’s becoming increasingly important that we understand how millennials are participating politically — what millennials are interested in, what’s guiding their vote, what that looks like — because they are going to become a critical part of the electorate moving forward.”

The 895 students enrolled in a required undergraduate U.S. Government course were surveyed for these results. Although many of these students were likely younger than the typical definition of a millennial, which is a person born between 1977 and 1995, Pritzker said that they represented what politicians still call millennials — anyone who is of age to be in college, or between 18 and 25 years old.

According to the study, 71.9 percent of students supported Clinton while just 16.4 percent supported President Donald Trump. These statistics do not match party lines: 56 percent identify as Democrats; 22.8 percent identify as Republicans. Of the 21.2 percent of students who called themselves independents, 59.8 percent supported Clinton.

“It’s a little bit different from what we’re seeing nationally,” Pritzker said. “One of the reasons that we think that that is because UH is the second-most diverse research-driven university in the country. It really serves as an exemplar of where this country is going demographically.”

Eighty percent of students were registered to vote, and 80 percent of those registered voted in the presidential election.

The data also shows a contrast between interest in national politics and engagement with local government: More than 90 percent of students said that they followed political campaigns or researched candidate platforms on the Internet, but fewer than 15 percent reported that they reached out to a local representative, participated in a march or volunteered for a candidate.

Fewer than 15 percent said they read a newspaper for political coverage.

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