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Students’ exit polling match up with election results

  • Wednesday, November 13, 2013

University School students administered exit polls to voters last week, including current Mount Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails, at the National Guard Armory on Mathis Ferry Road. PHOTO PROVIDED

Tuesday, Nov. 5, was a special Learning Outside the Classroom day at University School of the Lowcountry. USL conducts exit polling for elections every November, and all of our students (grades three through nine) take part. This year students focused on the municipal races in Mount Pleasant. School leaders chose 11 voting locations across the town in order to have a representative sample of the town as a whole. The goal was to garner approximately 100 completed exit polls at each site.

Every year school leaders seek to expose students to a wide array of voters, voting locations and political perspectives, and typically this involves having each student go to two different polling locations. Unfortunately, municipal elections have low turnout, so students only were able to go to one polling location so that they could stay long enough to get a sufficient number of completed exit polls. Although stundets spent more than two hours at each location, they were not able to get 100 at most sites. The students and teachers then returned to USL to compile the surveys and make informed predictions about the races.

This experience is an annual endeavor at University School of the Lowcountry because of the pattern of Congressional (and occasionally statewide and more) races in even-numbered years and municipal elections in odd-numbered years. The students have learned about the candidates, marketing and the issues facing the community. Some even attended a “meet the candidates” luncheon that was sponsored by the Mount Pleasant Business Association. They have also explored the value of exit polling in terms of statistics, sample size, location of precincts, turnout differences for different types of elections and the diversity of voters they will encounter. These are great lessons for preparing our students to be active and informed participants in their country.

The following are the students’ predictions and survey results (full results are below this)

Mayoral election

• Linda Page wins and avoids a run-off with 57 percent of the vote. Of the 11 polling sites, Page won 10 of them (and won more than 50 percent of the vote at all of these sites).

• Joe Bustos is second (21 percent), Ken Glasson is third (18 percent) and George Freeman is fourth (four percent).

Town council

• Paul Gawrych (15.5 percent), Gary Santos (14.6 percent) and Elton Carrier (14.5 percent) win seats.

• The contest for fourth is too close to call among Mark Smith (12.7 percent), Ben Bryson (12.5 percent) and Anthony Kowbeidu (11.7 percent).

Waterworks

Rick Crosby (36 percent) and John Burn (28 percent) win seats.

Survey questions

1. The mayor of Mount Pleasant should be this type of job (681 responses)

• Full-time (69 percent or 473)

• Part-time (30.5 percent or 208)

This is in line with the school’s survey results from the 2009 municipal elections when 71.5 percent of polled voters said the job should be full-time.


2. What is the single most important problem facing Mount Pleasant (that is, the one you would like to see be resolved by the mayor and town council)?

In comparison to the same survey that was administered in 2009, traffic/transportation is still the number one issue, but the percentage of respondents selecting it fell sharply – from approximately half to approximately a quarter of all responses. The other marked movement came in education/schools (up from 11 percent to 18 percent) and in economy/jobs/unemployment (falling from 22.2 percent to 14 percent). 2009 results are in brackets


• 26.6 percent - Traffic/Transportation [46.2 percent in 2009]

• 18 percent - Education/schools [11 percent in 2009]

• 14.1 percent - Economy/jobs/unemployment [22.2 percent in 2009]

• 10.7 percent - Taxes [10.9 percent in 2009]

• 6.8 percent - Funding of municipal operations [7.2 percent in 2009]

• 5.6 percent - Recreation [2.6 percent in 2009]

• 5.1 percent - Environment [4.1 percent in 2009]

• 4.9 percent - Services for seniors/retirees [5.9 percent in 2009]

• 4.9 percent - Open/transparent government [6 percent in 2009]

• 2.6 percent - Crime [2.8 percent in 2009]

• .5 percent - Other [.5 percent in 2009]


3, Please rate the following on scale of 1-10 (1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest)

• 8.8 The quality of life in Mount Pleasant

• 7.3 Mount. Pleasant’s government

• 6.5 Charleston County’s government

• 5.9 South Carolina’s government

• 4 United States’ government

Full exit polling results

Mayoral election

Page 416 (56.9 percent)

Bustos 155 (21.2 percent)

Glasson 131 (17.9 percent)

Freeman 27 (3.7 percent)

Carroll 0 (0 percent)


Town council

(sorted by results gathered)

Paul Gawrych (370)

Gary Santos (347)

Elton Carrier (344)

Mark Smith (302)

Ben Bryson (297)

Anthony Kowbeidu (277)

Joseph Wren (238)

Timm Gipe (196)

Other (9)


Waterworks

(sorted by results gathered)

Rick Crosby (379)

John Burn (297)

Alys Campaigne (205)

Dolph Rodenberg (181)


There were 731 completed exit poll surveys from the following locations: National Guard Armory, Brickyard Community Center, Moultrie Middle School, Christ Church, Wando, Greater Goodwill AME, Jones Recreation Center, Mount Pleasant Municipal Complex, Trident Academy, Mount Pleasant Park West Rec Center and Alhambra Hall.

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