Harbus Survey: 65% of HBS Students Choose Obama, 32% Romney

Election

Surveys completed by 668 members of the HBS student body last week revealed that President Barack Obama had the support of 65% of the student community. Challenger Mitt Romney captured 32% of the vote while the remainder said they supported a third-party candidate, were unsure, or did not plan to vote.

Students completed two different polls, an initial one asking only who students intended to vote for and whether their vote had changed in the last month, and an expanded second poll asking those two questions as well as sex, party affiliation, and the student’s year.

There were broad consistencies between the data collected in the two polls, the former of which was completed by 494 students, the latter by 168. The President captured 63% of the first 494 votes and 68% of the remaining 168, leaving him with 65% of the total.

The convincing margin of victory is explained in part by two major demographic factors the President had in his favor against one that would, on a national level, trend in favor of his opponent.

First, more than twice as many students at HBS identified as Democrats than did those identifying as Republicans. Of respondents to the second poll, 34% of students identified as Democrats versus 15% who identified as Republicans. 26% identified themselves as independents, 24% as international students, and the remaining 1% preferred not to say.

Second, the president enjoyed overwhelming support among HBS’ international student body. 83% of these responders chose Obama over Romney. Approximately 24% of all respondents to the second poll were international students. Among only eligible American voters, Obama held a 45%-26% advantage over Romney.

Despite these advantages, the HBS student body continues to skew male, a demographic group that national polling suggests prefers Romney. 60% of respondents to the second poll were men, consistent with the broader male-female composition of the student body.

The Harbus’ polling service does not permit us to identify preferences across individual categories, but if we assume that all Democrat voters chose Obama, and we know that 83% of non-eligible international voters did as well, that suggests that 64% of Independent voters at HBS favored Obama. Again, this finding is speculative, but we believe the number, if not exact, is highly representative of HBS Independent voters.

While the overwhelming majority of voters at HBS decided on their choice of candidate over the summer, 8% of all respondents indicated they had changed their choice of candidate over the last month.

The Harbus conducted a far more limited survey of student sentiment in late August/early September. At the time, 57% of voters indicated they supported Obama, 34% supported Romney, and 9% were undecided.

That poll was conducted exclusively among EC students at HBS, while our latest survey included RCs and ECs. In the second poll, ECs contributed 62% of all responses, perhaps due in part to poll fatigue resulting from Field 2’s product development dash week in the RC year.

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5 thoughts on “Harbus Survey: 65% of HBS Students Choose Obama, 32% Romney

  1. Jonathan L. Gal

    America is going to pot. Federal dependency is everywhere, including even at HBS.

    Don’t blame the students, though. This is part of a deliberate, nationwide political effort to insert the destructive philosophy of Keynesian, demand-side economics into the hearts and minds of future generations of Americans.

    The Liberal-Academic Establishment is succeeding at inserting that near-communist economic philosophy into young Americans by linking it to federal education dollars. If the university doesn’t hire Keynesian Professors, then it doesn’t get the federal education dollars. This coercive insertion of political and economic bias into young Americans is happening all over America.

    A precious few universities, like Brigham Young University, are guided by principle rather than by federal dollars. Such universities shun the federal dollars as if they are infected by a highly contagious disease (which they are) and steadfastly teach conservative principles despite the prevailing winds from Washington, DC.

    Influential publications, like Businessweek, can and should turn the tide on this destructive national trend by factoring “degree of federal dependency” into the educational rankings. Those universities, like Harvard, whose finances are highly dependent on the Federal Government, should be penalized in the rankings; while other schools, like BYU, which are not dependent on the Federal Government, should be rewarded for their financial independence with a major boost in the rankings.

    Jonathan L. Gal
    Harvard College ’89
    Provo, UT

    PS: It is also interesting to note that the cost of tuition at institutions like BYU, which shun federal dollars, tends to be significantly LOWER than the cost of tuition at institutions like Harvard. Those federal dollars seem to accomplish little more than the inflation of tuition and local economies, anyways.

    Reply
    1. caedmon

      According to US News in 2011, 41% of BYU students received some form of federal financial aid.

      BYU is able to charge a lower tuition because the school is supported by the tithing paid to the LDS church by it’s members.

      Reply
  2. bignevermo

    Johnathan…you said:”A precious few universities, like Brigham Young University, are guided by principle rather than by federal dollars. Such universities shun the federal dollars as if they are infected by a highly contagious disease (which they are) and steadfastly teach conservative principles despite the prevailing winds from Washington, DC.”
    that statement is sooosooooo not true:”A Federal Pell Grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of
    Education on the basis of fi nancial need. Pell Grants are based on
    the cost of education, length of the enrollment period, and number
    of credits a student carries. The student does not have to be enrolled
    full-time to qualify for a Pell Grant award. However, taking less than
    full-time credits will result in prorated awards. The student must be
    an undergraduate who does not already have a bachelor’s degree. Pell
    Grants do not have to be repaid.
    LEAP Grant funds are provided by the State of Idaho and the
    federal government. If funds are made available, they are awarded to
    high-need students with early applicants getting higher consideration.
    The Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan is need-based.
    Principal and interest payments are postponed while the student is
    enrolled in school at least half time, and during the six-month grace
    period after graduation or ceasing to attend school. During this time
    the federal government pays the interest for the student. To apply, see
    “How to apply for a federal student loan” below.
    The Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan is not needbased.
    Students may qualify for this program as long as their
    educational costs exceed the amount of fi nancial assistance awarded.
    Monthly principal payments are postponed while the student is
    enrolled in school at least halftime and during the six-month grace
    period after graduation or ceasing to attend school. The student is
    responsible for paying the interest that accrues on the loan during
    this period by either making the interest payments or requesting
    that the lender add the accrued interest to the principle balance at
    the time of repayment. The latter option is called capitalization and
    increases the total amount the student will repay. To apply, see “How
    to apply for a federal student loan” below.
    Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students
    (PLUS) is available for parents of dependent undergraduate students

    voila…federal money DOES go to BYU!!

    and so why did you go to Harvard? Why not BYU? BYU does not “shun” federal dollars! Lying for the Lord are we?

    Reply
  3. Scooter

    half the students at YBU are in subsidized married student housing living on public assistance. And of course, Ann and Mittens were so poor they had sell shares of daddies company just to afford the help.

    Reply
    1. caedmon

      In fact, BYU advisors give their students information on how to apply for public assistance programs – WIC, housing subsidies, etc. In fundamental mormon groups it is known as ‘bleeding the beast’.

      Reply