Ahead of the 2020 Georgetown University Student Association executive election, students expressed support for ticket Nicolo Ferretti (SFS ’21) and Bryce Badger (MSB ’21) as well as referenda calling for Georgetown’s divestment from fossil fuels and a Blue Campus designation in a Feb. 4 poll conducted by The Hoya.
Students will vote for the three referenda as well as the 2020-21 GUSA president and vice president Feb. 6. Of 407 undergraduate respondents, 66% of students polled support for the GU Fossil Free referendum, which calls for Georgetown to divest from fossil fuel companies by 2024. 66.8% of respondents plan to vote “yes” in the Blue Campus referendum, which would affirm the university’s commitment to ocean preservation and other sustainable practices.
Students will also vote on the Student Empowerment Fund referendum in the upcoming election. If passed, the referendum would enact a fund to reallocate a part of the Student Activity Fee to help finance large student-directed projects. 43.7% of respondents indicated support for the referendum, while 33.7% were indifferent or unsure.
Non-constitutional referenda require a simple majority to pass, according to Election Commissioner Kareeda Kabir (COL ’20). The referenda do not have to meet a voter turnout threshold to pass.
Many respondents ranked Ferretti and his running mate Badger as their top choice for the GUSA executive, with 44.7% indicating support for the ticket. Gonzalez Porras and vice presidential candidate Anahi Figueroa-Flores (COL ’21) trailed with 15.7% of students choosing them as their first choice in the poll. 6.4% selected Marin-Mora as their first choice.
Marin-Mora is running for GUSA president without a vice presidential candidate after his former running mate, Isbel Deleon (COL ’21), removed her name from the executive ballot Feb. 3.
Students will vote Thursday using a ranked-choice electoral system in which voters will rank their first, second and third choice tickets. If no ticket initially wins over 50% of first-choice votes, the campaign with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated and has its votes redistributed according to the second choices indicated on those ballots. This process continues until one ticket wins a simple majority support.
When choosing their second-preference ticket, 31.7% of respondents selected the Gonzalez Porras-Figueroa-Flores campaign, 18.7% chose the Ferretti-Badger ticket and 10.1% listed Marin-Mora.
When considering the candidates, 19.9% of students indicated that sexual assault policy is the most relevant issue in the 2020 election. Sustainability, affordability, and diversity and inclusion were selected as other relevant issues that each received at least 10% selection. No matter which issue students ranked as the most relevant, respondents selected the Ferretti-Badger ticket as their top choice.
Last year’s GUSA executive election saw the lowest voter turnout since 2007 with 32% of undergraduate students voting. Of students polled this year, 60.7% identified themselves as likely voters.
In addition to low voter turnout, low trust in GUSA has been a recurring issue. In 2019, 2% of respondents in The Hoya’s poll expressed strong trust in GUSA. This year trust in GUSA saw an increase with 5.9% indicating strong trust. 24.6% listed their trust as medium and 29.7% listed their trust as weak, according to the most recent poll.
Students can vote in the Feb 6. executive election and the three referenda online using HoyaLink.
The Hoya conducted a campuswide, door-to-door poll of Georgetown students Tuesday night in advance of the GUSA Executive election Feb. 4.
Though the polling method is not infallible, it was designed to reduce sample bias and provide transparency for demographics.
More than 20 Hoya staff members administered the anonymous survey Tuesday evening in campus dormitories and apartment buildings. Polling began at 7 p.m. and was completed by 9 p.m. The schedule and locations for polling were not announced beforehand.
A total of 407 Georgetown students completed the survey, which asked students about their views on the current election, including their vote choice, GUSA’s relevance and the performance of the current GUSA executives; a series of demographic questions; questions gauging opinions on the three upcoming referenda; a question asking respondents to identify the current GUSA president; and a question to gauge the main issues students want their next GUSA executives to address. Respondents were also asked whether they planned to vote in Thursday’s election.
These measures limited readership bias, prevented respondents from being polled twice and sought to present a sample representative of the student body. However, as was the case in previous years, respondents to the poll were mostly underclassmen, likely because of the relative inaccessibility of junior and senior housing.