News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 3, 2012

Romney wins in straw poll election

Rose-Hulman effort has candidates separated by 1.3 percent

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Mock election results showed a tight presidential race, but in the end, Mitt Romney defeated Barack Obama in a straw poll election conducted at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

A total of 479 people voted last week in the online survey, including 373 students, 73 staff and 33 faculty. The results showed that Romney took 46 percent of the vote, Obama 44.7 percent and “other” took 9.4 percent.

Romney fared better among students. Of the 373 students who voted, 47 percent voted for Romney, while 41 percent voted for Obama and 12 percent for “other.”

Slightly more females voted for Obama, and among the 33 faculty who voted — 23 voted for Obama.

“The results aren’t terribly surprising,” said Terrence Casey, Rose-Hulman associate professor of political science and head of the department of humanities and social sciences.

Romney defeated Obama in the overall straw poll election by 1.3 percentage points.

“I think in a sense it’s reflective of what we’re likely to see out there on a national scale — a very tight race,” Casey said.

About 78 percent of those voting were students, and the rest faculty and staff.

Casey described as an “anomaly” the number of students who voted for “other,” likely representing their support for a Libertarian candidate.

“You won’t see that in the general population,” he said.

A straw poll is not scientifically valid, and those who participate do so voluntarily.

“It is more indicative of what students at Rose-Hulman think,” Casey said. “It probably doesn’t tell you a lot about what will happen in the country.”

The college has more than 2,000 students and about 600 faculty and staff, said Dale Long, director of media relations. Student affairs sent out an election survey by email to all students, faculty and staff.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.