As Election Day Looms, Friends Community Casts Their Vote

Weekly Update

Wilmington Friends Schools Presidential Candidate Preferences

Wilmington Friends School’s Presidential Candidate Preferences

Wilmington Friends School is known for its liberal atmosphere. Inspired by Quaker values that promote peace and equality, this forward-thinking environment is what guides lessons, activities, and clubs. But what is taught is not always what is practiced by the student body outside of school, as emphasized by the political allegiances of members of the community.

Recently, Whittier conducted a poll to breakdown the political makeup of Friends. This poll was conducted online through a Google Forms survey. Students, teachers, and some parents had access to it through the daily announcements, the online homework assignment site, Netclassroom, as well as through the WFS Whittier Facebook page. Eighty-eight people responded to the poll. The editorial staff of Whittier recognizes that, as in most amateur polls, this by no means is a completely precise representation of the Friends community. With that being said, Whittier believes that the results from this poll are generally accurate, and are strong enough to be used for the purpose of this article.  

This poll was conducted in early February, 2016, when there were still nine candidates left in the race. Yet, with incredible foresight, the candidates with the most votes are the candidates that are still in the race: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, and Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich on the Republican side. Reflective of the liberal atmosphere at Friends, the most popular candidate was Bernie Sanders, with 44.7% of the population supporting him. The runner up was Hillary Clinton with 27.1% of the vote. While results from this show that 71.8% of the Friends community identifies with a Democratic candidate, only 60% of the population affiliate with the Democratic Party. In a separate question asking what party people affiliate with, 28.2% of the community identified as an Independent, while only 11.8% identified as Republican. When asked why she is voting for a Democratic candidate but is not registered as a Democrat, this anonymous senior replied,  “I’m registered as Independent, but only because my Republican dad was standing behind me when I had to choose at the DMV.”Of the 28.2% of the Friends community that is voting Republican, nearly 40% are voting for Marco Rubio. Rubio’s rival? Donald Trump, coming in with 4.7%.  Tied for third in the Republican field were John Kasich and Ted Cruz, with 3.5% each. 


Why did poll respondents choose the candidate that they voted for? 49.1% said that they chose their candidate because they were liberal or had a liberal agenda. The 4% that chose “entertaining” as the reasoning behind their choice in candidate were voting for either Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump.

While each of the candidates in the race stands for and represents dramatically different points of views and beliefs, the issues that voters care about do not. The issue that the Friends community cared the most about was education, while the issue that voters cared the least about was protection of the Second Amendment. Poll respondents were also concerned with the environment, foreign policy and defense, as well as the budget and taxes. 

Overall, Friends is a moderately politically active community. 64.7% of the community follows politics in general only “some of the time.” 25.9% of the community follows politics a lot, while 9.4% reported that they rarely to never follow what is happening in politics. Those who do not often follow what is happening in politics were not bound by a specific candidate or party. The increased entertainment value of politics this presidential election season has caused people to follow politics differently. When asked how much people have followed this presidential race, 55.3% reported that they sometimes follow it, and 35.3% reported that they often follow this election. The same 9.4% which never follows politics normally, also rarely follows politics this election season.

Regardless of if you are old enough to vote come November, it is always important to follow what is going on in the political world. Decisions that are made during an election season and during an off season have the potential to affect each and every one of our lives. Being politically literate is an essential part of participation in a democratic society where everyone has the opportunity to have a say. While candidates may be entertaining, it is important to consider all options and do thorough research on policy and each candidate’s political stances before choosing who you want to be your next president. We must not take our political process and free elections for granted.