CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – A recent survey of students at West Texas A&M University attests that most wear masks and other face coverings. The survey, conducted by political scientist Dr. Dave Rausch, also found that a plurality of students claim they will vote for President Donald J. Trump.
The online survey was open to WTAMU students from Oct. 2 – Oct. 9. A link to the survey was sent to 10,037 students, 841 students responded.
The survey asked, “In the past month, how often, if ever, have you worn a mask or face covering when in stores or other businesses?” Over three quarters of the students (76.27%) reported wearing a mask or face covering all or most of the time. Less than 2% reported never wearing a mask.
If the election were held today, 48.40% of the responders said they would vote for the Republican Trump/Pence ticket, while 40.58% would support the Democratic Biden/Harris ticket. About 8% of the students said they would vote for someone else, and 2.56% said they have decided to take a pass on voting.
Another question discussed support for incumbent United States Senator John Cornyn, a Republican. Cornyn polled the most support with 39.84% while his Democratic challenger MJ Hegar received support from 28.25% of respondents. Over 11% of the respondents reported not being residents of Texas, while 6.83% indicated they will not vote for Senator.
To identify any problems with a survey, Dr. Rausch says he usually tests a few associations that should be initiative. For example, one would assume that respondents who identify with the Democratic Party would support the Democratic nominee for President. This survey found that relationship, suggesting there is likely little cross-party attraction for either candidate – very few people are tempted to cross the party line.
Gender is also an important variable, according to the report, in understanding how a person may vote. Over 58% of the respondents were female, and 41% male. There is a slight gender gap emerging in presidential vote among WTAMU students. Over 52% of male respondents claimed they will vote for Trump/Pence with 33.1% backing Biden/Harris. The female respondents were a little more evenly split with a 48.5% supporting Trump/Pence and 46.1% supporting Biden/Harris. The survey includes several other variables that may be used to understand the gendered vote.
Some observers noted that the wearing of masks and other face coverings has become a political issue. This idea is supported in the survey data. As before, over 75% of respondents wearing a mask or other face covering. Of those, 51.7% support the Biden/Harris while 35.9% are voting for Trump/Pence. Almost 13% of students report wearing a face covering “some of the time.” Trump/Pence picks up the support of 83.1% of these respondents. Only 8.06% hardly ever wear masks with 92.6% supporting Trump/Pence. Almost 2% of respondents reported never wearing a face covering with 92.3% voting for Trump/Pence.
The survey included questions asking respondents to think about their level of participation in politics and their ideology. These additional questions, according to Dr. Rausch, will be analyzed later and compared with similar survey data from previous years.
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