Religion and Politics, Part II

Yesterday I polled the students in my classes regarding their upcoming electoral choices.  Students were not required to participate and there were some absences, so my sample size was only around 42 people.  The results were generally as expected for the population of a Pentecostal school, but the percentages for the minority positions held were larger than you’d likely find at many of our sister Assemblies of God institutions.  The climate of the Pacific Northwest may, as I posited yesterday, have something to do with this.

The results:

Presidential Election:

  • Mitt Romney: 71%
  • Barack Obama: 24%
  • Other: 1%

While Mitt Romney has a very slight advantage in national polls right now, the 3-to-1 lead he has here on campus is rather extreme.  The students I polled overwhelming favored Romney for President.  The identification of the Republicans with the conservative Christian positions remains strong, it seems.

Legalization of Marijuana:

  • Against: 77%
  • For: 23% (67% of these votes came from ONE course, where it passed)

By similar margins, the legalization of marijuana–which I just heard is quite possible to pass here in Washington–was rejected by my students.  Again, this is not necessarily surprising.  What I did find interesting was that of the 9 votes cast in favor of legalization, 6 of them came from one individual class, where the measure actually passed!  Perhaps they are my class of libertarians?

Legalization of Gay Marriage:

  • Against: 76%
  • For: 24%

Once again, the traditionally conservative position won the day by a 3-t0-1 margin.  It would have been interesting on this point to see why students voted the way they did, as my own thoughts about the issue are a bit complex.In the end, I’m not sure that I discovered much groundbreaking information in this small survey.  By similar margins, students embraced the conservative option in all three cases–again, not an unexpected finding for a Christian college.  What was notable, I suppose, is that a not insubstantial minority chose the other option and for whatever reason embraced a position or candidate that is often not favored by the evangelical or Pentecostal community at large.  I would be very interested in learning the way at which my students arrived at their various positions, as well as how their faith informs their politics.

Along these lines, tomorrow I’ll be sharing some personal thoughts about the interplay of faith and politics as we continue to barrel towards November 6.

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