By CASEY BRENNAN
Not many will tell you that a university is a place where political opinions are consistent. To get a better idea of the Fordham community’s political opinions, I recently conducted an online survey titled, “Opinions on the Democratic Party, GOP, and the Current Administration.”
The survey was taken by 50 Fordham community members, including undergraduates, graduate students and alumni. The majority of the respondents (56 percent) identified as Democrats, whereas there were only two registered Republicans (four percent). Additionally, 28 percent of the respondents were independent. There were also three Libertarians, one Ancom, one Marxist and one person not affiliated with politics.
The main goal of the survey was to understand more about the opinions that the members of the Fordham community hold in regards to the current administration. Specifically, the survey was meant to gather opinions on the values that the Democratic and Republican parties hold, and whether or not the two parties are currently upholding said values. Additionally, the survey also gathered opinions on whether or not the current administration embodies the values of the Republican party.
Since the majority of the respondents identified as Democrats, the responses were understandably somewhat slanted. When asked “In terms of its values, what rating would you give the Democratic Party?” on a scale from one to ten, the average answer was approximately 6.65. The same question, when asked about the Republican Party, yielded an average answer of 2.92.
Provided with a list of values that are typically seen as either Republican or Democratic, the survey asked, “What would you consider “Republican Values”?” The top responses included, “Imposing stricter immigration policies” (86 percent) , “Being Pro-Life” (86 percent) and “Opposing government run, universal healthcare (Obamacare)” (84 percent). Three survey takers chose to include their own “Republican Value” in the option labeled other: promoting racism. One respondent also attributed this value to the Democratic Party as well. The same was asked of Democratic values, and the top answers were “Supporting government run, universal healthcare (Obamacare)” (96 percent), “Supporting marriage equality and LGBTQ+ rights” (90 percent) and “Imposing gun control” (84 percent).
Although the average rating of the Republican values were much lower than the Democrats’, the majority of the survey takers do not believe that Donald Trump represents the values of the Republican Party. Fifty-four percent of respondents said that they did not believe that Donald Trump represents the Republican Party’s values, with one student even responding “no hecking way.” The rating of Donald Trump as a person and a politician was extremely low, with an approximate average of 1.65 out of 10. In fact, 98 percent of survey takers rated Donald Trump a “5” or lower, with 76 percent choosing to label him a “1”, and only one student rating him a “10.” A smaller percentage of students (44 percent) did not believe that the current administration as a whole represents the values of the Republican Party, in comparison to the 34 percent of survey takers who do. Both of the Republican survey takers reported that they did not believe that Trump, nor the current administration as a whole, represent the values the members of the Republican Party hold.
When asked “Why do you believe Donald Trump does or does not uphold Republican values?” opinions varied. Many of the answers implied that Trump has his own political agenda, and he does not represent the Republican Party’s values whatsoever. Others stated that he only represents the Republican party taken to extreme, and that the majority of Republican do not hold the values that he endorses. Another common theme among the answers was that the Republican and Democratic parties maintain a strong “party loyalty,” insinuating that Republicans may not agree with the ideals that Donald Trump represents, but feel that they should vote for him to stay loyal to their party. Others suggested that since Trump received the Republican vote, he must represent a majority of the Republican values.
Similarly, the survey asked why the current administration does or does not represent the values of the Republican Party. Most of the respondents believe that Trump chose his cabinet members because they have similar views to his own, which are Republican values taken to the extreme. However, respondents noted that there are Republicans who do not align with Trump, so it would be difficult to say whether or not all Republicans in office represent the values that their party embodies.
In terms of how each party is currently operating, the respondents gave both parties low ratings with the average rating for the Democratic Party approximately being 4.61 out of 10 and the Republican Party’s average being 2.34 out of 10. Many of the respondents said that both the Republican and Democratic parties need to be improved to help the state of our country. In contrast, other respondents believe that the two-party system should be completely reformed, while others said that the issues that both parties face are very similar and are due to the forced “party loyalty.”
I had originally focused the survey on the Republican Party, since they are currently in power. However, many of the respondents noted that the Democratic Party is also in need of reform. There is clearly a desire for change in the current political climate of the Fordham community, which will require the input of both parties.
Featured image courtesy of George Horihan.