Turnout set to be very low

Tide could be turning on Becky Howe

Almost three quarters of grads might not vote

An exclusive opinion poll conducted for Versa is predicting that OUSU favourite Becky Howe is facing a threat from independent candidate Adam Roberts in this week’s election, which is set to end tomorrow.

Both Roberts and Howe saw 17 per cent of respondents select them as their preferred candidate for president in the poll (conducted by a specialist team of Oxford mathematicians), while the other candidate – Will Obeney – drew in only 7 per cent.

The polling team conducted a survey on Monday before polls opened, asking a random sample of 500 students via email about their voting intentions. The sample was weighted by college, department, grad/undergrad status, and other demographic characteristics. Response rate was at about 10%, similar if a little lower to the usual turnout for OUSU elections.

Howe, ex-JCR President at Pembroke, declared her candidacy early, and for some time rumours abounded that she would be unopposed for the Presidency. Roberts is running with a flagship policy of offering a student-wide vote on OUSU policy once a year.

Despite heading up the largest slate on the ballot, Obeney seems to have been left behind. Graduate support for him was almost non-existent.

Presidential voting intentions: people can even be arsed to fill out our saying how they won't bother to vote

Presidential voting intentions: non-voters can be arsed to fill out our survey, but not the real thing

Versa’s poll also showed that turnout is set to be very low, with more than a third of respondents declaring that they “do not intend to vote” for President – despite bothering to fill out a survey about their candidate preferences.

Graduates especially appear to lack voting enthusiasm, with almost 60 per cent of participants not planning on going to the polls.

Surprisingly, given OUSU’s low popularity, few people are aggrieved enough with the institution to vote RON (re-open nominations), with only 2 percent planning to do so for the presidential candidates.

However, almost one quarter of respondents replied that they had not yet decided on their preferred candidate, so there is still time for one of the candidates to pull ahead.

In the sabbatical officer races, Flora Sheldon seems to be the favourite for the Academic Affairs position, coming in at 28 per cent, with Cat Jones trailing at seven per cent and Greg Auger and Eden Bailey at five and six per cent respectively.

The Vice Presidents for Women and Welfare are both unopposed (with RON their only threat), as well as all trustees and NUS delegates – for whom (controversially) there is no RON option.

Grads showed little desire even to vote for their own representative, with almost three quarters saying that they either wouldn’t vote Graduate VP or were intending to but hadn’t yet decided who for. Out of the grads who actually cared enough to have a preference, Nick Cooper received most of the vote.

This year’s election, which lacks both the excitement of Louis Trup’s joke candidacy and the hackiness of the Westbury-Rutland battle of 2012, has been described as “boring” and “irrelevant”.

Alex Bartram, the candidate who came second-to-last last year, recently wrote in Cherwell that he worries about “another sub-15% election” and “some positions might be becoming too unassailable”.

Is the tide turning on Becky Howe?

Is the tide turning on Becky Howe?

What do you think about OUSU candidates? Who will win the election?
Comment below with your views….


This article has 5 comments

  1. Who even am I?

  2. There’s a stunning lack of information about this poll. When was it conducted (especially important considering that this, bizarrely, seems to be a mid-election exit poll)? How was it conducted? What’s the sample size? Will the full data tables be made available?

    • “The polling team conducted a survey on Monday before polls opened, asking a random sample of 500 students via email about their voting intentions. The sample was weighted by college, department, grad/undergrad status, and other demographic characteristics. Response rate was at about 10%, similar if a little lower to the usual turnout for OUSU elections.”

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