And the Polls Say...

Last Updated by Kealey Bultena on

“The numbers don’t lie.” Yeah, okay, but you can make them stretch the truth.

In this week’s story about media students at the University of Sioux Falls weighing in on the presidential election, I had a choice. We could talk about the number of votes students cast in favor of certain candidates, or we could use the percentages.

Let’s start with the percentages. (My instructors said those finance classes would pay off.) When you break down the poll results into percentages, you get these results: 

USF PollUSF Poll

 

Those numbers are accurate. Thirty-three percent of USF media students polled supported Gary Johnson in the first round! One third of students said that Libertarian should be the next Commander in Chief. That is a hefty chunk of the population.

But does it change your perspective when you see the raw vote numbers instead?

USF Poll numbersUSF Poll Numbers

 

It does mine. That’s why I chose to use the actual vote count in the news and feature stories about this fun straw poll. This is a minuscule sample of voters. No one is pretending it’s a scientific representation of all college students – or college students in South Dakota or even college students at USF. When I say the percentages, though, it feels to me that those figures carry more weight. That’s just not a truthful reflection of the situation, even if the data is accurate.

So listen to these students. Hear why some young voters are pledging their support to certain people or parties. Understand that these new voters are major players in this election. Yet take their perspectives for what they are: individual anecdotes, not the opinions of everyone age 18 to 23. 

One more glance at those figures side-by-side: 

Poll side by sidePoll side by side

 

Listen to Kealey's full story on the USF students below:

USF Students Poll

Kealey Bultena talks to USF students about the current presidential campaign

USF Students Consider the Campaign

http://listen.sdpb.org/post/college-students-consider-campaign

subscribe to sdpb email updates TileAd_Beatsupport_300x250.png food and cooking banner image learning blog link living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

The Latest From SDPB Radio News

Truth Becomes Art And Art Becomes Truth

In The Moment ... September 21. 2018 Show 427 Hour 2 Terese Mailhot memoir is called “Heart Berries." It is as...

America's Unknown Renegades

In The Moment ... September 21. 2018 Show 427 Hour 1 Angelica Shirley Carpenter is the author of the book "Born...

The Role of Journalism In Today's Democracy

In The Moment ... September 21. 2018 Show 427 Hour 1 Thomas Patterson is the Bradlee Professor of Government and the...

Partners In Writing And Life

In The Moment ... September 21. 2018 Show 427 Hour 2 What is it like to have two writers in a household? Two authors that happened to be married had breakout debut...

Avera McKennan and Sioux Falls First Responders Conduct Active Shooter Simulation

As mass shootings make headlines more frequently, many companies are training their employees for the worst...

"South Dakota is a template": Mike Rowe Joins Governor to Promote Technical Education

Former Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe is joining Governor Dennis Daugaard to promote technical education in South Dakota....

The "Infamous Ratsos" Are Looking For Trouble

In The Moment ... September 20. 2018 Show 426 Hour 2 Kara LaReau is the author of the "Infamous Ratsos" series. The...

The Enduring Simplicity (And Complexity) Of Michael Hall

In The Moment ... September 20. 2018 Show 426 Hour 2 Michael Hall writes picture books that delight and endure. He's...

The Multiple Hearts Of Laura Geringer Bass

In The Moment ... September 20. 2018 Show 426 Hour 2 When 13 year-old Briana's dad dies suddenly, she is faced with...

Where Do We Go From Here Preview - Women In Public Service

In The Moment ... September 19, 2018 Show 425 Hour 2 Chuck Parkinson joined In the Moment from Rapid City for a...

The Latest from NPR News

A Timeline Of Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill Controversy As Kavanaugh To Face Accuser

As another Supreme Court nominee faces allegations of sexual misconduct, what can be learned from the handling of...

China And Vatican Sign Agreement On Appointment Of Bishops

The "provisional" deal — signed in Beijing by deputy foreign ministers on both sides — gives the Holy See a say in...

Comcast Outbids Fox And Will Acquire British Broadcaster Sky

The U.S. cable giant won a rare auction held by British regulators with a bid of $39 billion. Comcast hopes...

Trump Administration Will Seek To Limit Green Cards For Immigrants Needing Public Aid

The Department of Homeland Security has proposed a new rule that would expand Trump administration efforts to...

Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford Will Testify To Senate Panel, Lawyers Say

Bipartisan negotiators have tentatively agreed to work toward a Thursday hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Survivor Rescued From Inside Capsized Tanzanian Ferry

Two days after the disaster, which left more than 200 people dead, divers pulled a man from inside the vessel. He...