The college midterm results

It was harder to vote according to a survey by two NDSU professors

The 2018 midterm elections seem like ages ago, but two professors at North Dakota State have given insight into the voting experience of NDSU students. Assistant professor Kjersten Nelson and professor Nicholas Bauroth circulated a survey to students in 12 North Dakota universities and colleges, with over 2,000 people participating.

“All and all, students, college students are probably going to be a little more liberal than the general population.”

-Nicholas Bauroth, professor of political science

A shift spotted in the survey between the 2016 and 2018 elections was the number of people who tried to vote but were not able to do so. The data, when extrapolated, showed that almost 400 students were turned away at the polls. “In some ways, we weren’t surprised because when they did the elections last time in 2016 there was sort of a break from some of the voter ID laws that had sort of come up,” Bauroth said.

In 2016, students could use affidavits to prove residency, but in 2018 students were required to show a state-issued ID. “We weren’t surprised to see that would have an impact,” Bauroth said. The impact on students may have been even higher. According to the survey write up, over 16,000 affidavits were filed in 2016. The voter ID law took away that option.

North Dakota may vote, breath and bleed red, but college students in the state seem to lean left. While their views on taxes fit the Republican mold, with a strong plurality supporting the tax reform bill signed by President Donald Trump, the rest of the categories fell on a more liberal bias. Students supported assault rifle bans and legal abortion. Trump received a 57.6 percent disapproval rating among college students, and overall students disapproved of the Brett Kavanaugh appointment.

Bauroth said he was not surprised by these numbers either. “All and all, students, college students are probably going to be a little more liberal than the general population,” Bauroth said. This dichotomy is also shown in some tangible results. 57.1 percent of respondents said they voted for Heidi Heitkamp versus the statewide results that had her at 44.3 percent. Rep. Kelly Armstrong just edged out his opponent with 50.7 percent of students supporting him in this survey, a number that falls behind the state by 10 percentage points.

A homegrown effort to pass marijuana legalization by some NDSU students and Fargo natives failed statewide, but might have struck a nerve with NDSU students. 54.9 percent said they voted for Measure 3. The University of North Dakota might have the edge though, with 61.5 percent of students reporting to have voted in favor of the measure.

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