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Nearly 20 Percent of Republican Harvard Undergrads Plan to Vote for Biden

Harvard Yard
Zadoc I. N. Gee

Tourists enjoy a socially-distant afternoon in the Yard.

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Nearly 20 percent of Republican Harvard undergraduates reported in a September survey that they would vote for Democratic nominee Vice President Joseph R. Biden in his presidential race against incumbent U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

Harvard Republicans are more split than members of their party nationwide; 9 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters indicated they would support Biden, according to a Pew Research Center survey that concluded Oct. 5.

Still, 75 percent of Republican students indicated that they planned to vote for Trump. The Harvard Republican Club announced its endorsement of Trump's 2020 bid last month, reversing their historic 2016 decision to split from the Republican Party by refusing to support him.

The 877 undergraduates who filled out The Crimson’s 2020 College Survey revealed, however, that the student body overall leans heavily toward identifying as Democrats, as in past years.

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A majority of Harvard undergraduates — 60.8 percent — indicated that they are affiliated with the Democratic party. Meanwhile, 12.6 percent wrote that they consider themselves Independents, 6.9 percent Republicans, and 1.5 percent Libertarians.

Of the 84.8 percent of students who plan to vote in November, 89.1 percent plan to vote for Biden and 7.9 percent intend to vote for Trump.

Just over 10 percent of respondents indicated that they were not eligible to vote, and only 1.2 percent of survey respondents reported that they had decided not to vote.

A student-initiated petition calling on University President Lawrence S. Bacow to designate Election Day as a University holiday to ensure affiliates have ample time to vote and engage in other civic activities had earned over 600 signatures as of Monday evening.

The Harvard Votes Challenge, a student-led Institute of Politics initiative, has spent much of the lead-up to the election aiming to achieve perfect voter turnout across the entire University. The Harvard Votes Challenge has partnered with Harvard’s athletics teams to promote voting; more than half of the teams have pledged to reach 100 percent turnout.

Of the respondents on Harvard’s varsity teams, 78.4 percent said they were planning to vote in the election, compared to 85.6 percent of non-athletes planning to vote..

Seventy-two percent of students indicated that they are very or somewhat liberal, while 16 percent reported that they are moderate, and 12 percent that they are somewhat or very conservative.

Of the students who self-identified as “not at all religious,” 83 percent indicated that they are very or somewhat liberal. Only 6 percent of non-religious students, meanwhile, indicated that they were somewhat or very conservative. Conversely, of the students who self-identified as “extremely religious,” 47.3 percent said they were somewhat or very conservative, compared to 31.6 percent who said they were somewhat or very liberal.

Last week, Harvard’s Faculty Council began preliminary talks about how to support students and faculty after the presidential election, after the 2016 election results left Harvard’s large liberal contingent distressed and apprehensive about how a Trump presidency would impact their lives.

—Staff writer Juliet E. Isselbacher can be reached at juliet.isselbacher@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @julietissel.

—Staff writer Amanda Y. Su can be reached at amanda.su@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandaysu.

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