In Mount Vernon’s AP Government and Politics class, students are learning about the ideas of polling, bias, and the influence of mass media. In order to get a better understanding of how this works during elections, students have been working to create a campaign for the Georgia Governor’s Race. The campaign, #MVVOTES, aims to reach 100% voter turnout from the Mount Vernon Community. Specifically, students are polling and using surveys as a way to predict the outcome of the election for all voter demographics.
In a previous message, the AP Government students asked all Mount Vernon family and faculty voters to participate in a survey to help with the project, which would provide interesting and useful information to compile and share with families.
Anusha Merchant, Grade 10
Aqil Merchant, Grade 10
Tres Gonzalez, Grade 12
Jack Mullen, Grade 12
Comparing Current Georgia Governor Race (Abrams/Kemp) to 2014 Georgia Governor Race (Deal/Carter)
Exit Poll Used: CNN, “Governor: Georgia (Deal vs Carter).” Survey. 5 Nov. 2014
The validity of certain voting trends can be explored by comparing the prospective results of the 2018 Georgia governor race with those from the exit polls of the 2014 election. For example, old individuals tend to vote Republican because of their conservative beliefs. The 2014 election illustrated this conclusion as 64% of individuals sixty-five and above voted for Republican candidate Nathan Deal. However, based on our survey, only 40% of this age group is expected to vote for Brian Kemp. This concludes that the elderly have become less likely to support Republican candidates. A second voting trend is known as the gender gap: Women tend to vote Democrat while men tend to vote Republican. The 2014 results support this idea since 60% of males voted for Deal while 52% of females voted for Democratic candidate Jason Carter. Although, the 2018 survey suggests that 14% more men and 3% more women will vote for Kemp than Abrams. Therefore, unlike the 2014 election, both males and females currently have greater support for the Republican candidate, contradicting with the concept of the gender gap.
In addition to age and gender, differences in race help create voting tendencies. For example, white individuals often vote Republican, but minorities usually vote Democrat. This proved to be true for both whites and blacks in 2014 as 73% of whites voted for Deal, and 89% of blacks voted for Carter. Although 89% of blacks are still expected to vote for Abrams (the Democratic candidate), the survey’s results claim that 36% of whites will vote for Kemp/50% of whites will vote for Abrams. Therefore, while minorities may still vote Democrat, whites are no longer as likely as they were in the past to support a Republican candidate. Since the three discussed trends have become less accurate over time, there must be a significant difference between how specific demographics voted in the past and how they vote today. A key contributor to these changes is policy-making as candidates can either attract or repulse each demographic based on the plans/programs that they advocate for. In addition, changes in a party’s platform can influence which demographics provide it with the most support (but these changes can only be seen after several critical elections).
“The process opened our eyes as a group to realize there is a wide range of change in America. Also, in the end, no matter who is elected, we should trust they are doing the best for our country. It is so important to vote. We are part of a representative democracy. Our leaders represent our voices and values. If we don’t vote, our voices will not be heard,” shares Anusha.