By Aaron Orbey
Election Tuesday found members of the nation gearing up to vote for the next president as Upper School students and faculty partook in a school-wide Mock Election conducted by The Point of View (POV), BB&N’s political magazine. Although the school’s majority voted largely in favor of Democratic candidates and tended toward the liberal response to the two ballot measures included in the survey, results did reveal a distinct conservative presence within the school, as well as other surprises, according to POV Editor-in-Chief David Markey ’14.
“What was most interesting between the two groups was that students, as a whole, were more conservative than teachers on certain issues,” David said. On Question 2, 81% of the faculty voted in favor of a patient’s right to doctor-assisted suicide, rather than 63% of students. On Question 3, 85% of the faculty voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, while only 61% of the student body supported the same vote.
POV Faculty Advisor Rob Leith added, “I didn’t make too many predictions [about the survey], but I think that I would have expected a difference to occur in the medical marijuana vote, if there were one.”
On the presidential front, Democratic candidate Barack Obama won the Mock Election with 77% of the combined student and faculty vote, although 24% of students voted for Republican Mitt Romney. That only 4% of faculty voted for Romney suggests a disparity between the presence of conservative students and that of conservative faculty within the school, according to David.
Likewise, in the Senate race, Republican Scott Brown lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, securing only 40% of the overall school vote. As in the presidential race, a greater percentage of students tended toward the conservative candidate: 42% of students voted for Brown in contrast with only 9% of faculty.
According to David, the survey revealed a relative diversity within the school, one that many students, he added, don’t often acknowledge. “I think that the BB&N community, like any, is more diverse in terms of political beliefs than we think of ourselves,” he said. “Compared to the country, of course, we are not as diverse, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”
Diversity, David added, is not always beneficial within a small community. “Having a diverse group of people with many different thoughts on politics can be a good thing for discussion but can also lead to tension within a group,” he said. “You can appreciate diversity within a community, but it’s not totally necessary from an ideological point of view.”
Mr. Leith said that regardless of the results’ implications at this time, they will contribute to a valuable archive for future generations.
“My belief,” he said, “is that these things may not surprise us now, but looking back on them at some time in the future [will prove] a great interest.”