54.8 Percent of HBS Students are Democrats?!

As the 2004 presidential election heats up, the political pundits are talking about the differences between “red states” and “blue states.” According to conventional wisdom, red states dominate the South and the Mid-West, and the folks there vote Republican, attend religious services regularly, and support the war in Iraq. Blue states exist on the East and West Coasts, and their citizens vote Democratic, have liberal views on social issues, and generally dislike the Bush administration’s foreign and economic policy replica watches uk. Of course, these kinds of generalization can prove grossly inaccurate, and it’s absurd to assume that all residents of any state or city think the same way. For example, California, a “blue state,” has a Republican governor, while Virginia, a “red state,” has a Democrat at its helm.

On the other hand, generalizations are fun, so let’s take this one a step further-what if we divided up Harvard University into “red schools” and “blue schools?” The casual observer might assume that the Kennedy School would be blue while HBS would be red. After all, HBS students should be conservative, right? American business has traditionally supported the Republican Party, and HBS students are future business leaders.

A recent campus poll belies this assumption, however. Last spring, current EC students received a poll asking them about their political preferences. This poll was sponsored by the HBS Democrats, but was sent out by HARBUS board members to all sections. three hundred and thirty six students responded replica breitling, of which 83 were international students who leaned heavily Democratic (71.1% of internationals identified as Strong or Moderate Democrats, while 54.8% of the total did). Factoring out the international students, whose responses skewed the data, we were left with 253 respondents-still a statistically significant number representing over 42% of American students from the current EC class. Of this group, 49.4% claimed to be Democrats (15.4% identified as Strong Democrats and 34% as Moderate Democrats) while only 34.8% self-identified as Republicans (25.3% as Moderate Republicans and 9.5% as Strong Republicans). The rest were either indifferent or other (8.3% politically indifferent and 7.5% other). In addition, 59.3% of the U.S citizens polled declared that they were likely to vote for John Kerry in November, while 33.2% said they’d vote to re-elect George W. Bush. It is astounding to think that there so many more Democrats than Republicans here at HBS-George W. Bush’s alma mater!

So, assuming that voting based on HBS alumni status is not a consideration, what issues matter to HBS students when they head to the polls? When asked for their number one priority, 24% of all respondents listed job creation/the economy, 19.9% cited the War on Terror and national defense, 16.9% chose the War in Iraq, and 13.1% listed social issues. There is a range of thought here at HBS-not only when it comes to political affiliation, but also when it comes to which issues matter the most. We can’t reach too many conclusions from this one poll, but one thing is certain-there’s more political diversity at HBS than one might suppose, or than stereotypes might suggest.

October 4, 2004
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