What Matters to College Women in the 2016 Presidential Election

This month, we at Her Campus Media surveyed over 1,400 college women from all across the country to find out what matters to them in the 2016 presidential election. These women were about evenly split between public and private schools. A quarter of our respondents were people of color, and 22 percent were first generation college students. We wanted to know which candidates were capturing the attention of our readers, which issues would affect their vote, and where they fell on the political spectrum.

Over half of the respondents identified with the Democratic party, while a fifth identified with the Republican party. Eighteen percent identified with no political party. When asked about the makeup of their ideal candidate, 32 percent said they would want a socially liberal, financially conservative candidate—Only a few percentage points lower than the 35 percent who wanted a socially liberal, financially liberal candidate.

Among the current presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders was the clear winner among college women. More than 44 percent of our survey-takers said they would be most likely to vote for him as of right now, and 62 percent had a positive impression of him.

Hillary Clinton fell far behind Sanders in second place, with only 19 percent saying they would vote for her as of right now. 

While support for the Republicans was split among many candidates, Carly Fiorina was the winner with nearly 7 percent of respondents choosing her as their vote. And Donald Trump had the honor of being the most hated candidate—Over 87 percent of college women had a negative impression of him.

College women chose reproductive rights, education and the economy as the issues that are most important to them in the coming election. With the intense debate over Planned Parenthood’s funding, candidates should definitely keep these results in mind. Climate change and freedom of religion were among the issues respondents said would not affect their vote.

This column was originally published on Linkedin on October 29, 2015.

Stephanie Kaplan Lewis

Stephanie has grown Her Campus to a reach of over 89MM+ monthly multi-platform content views, with chapters at 320+ colleges worldwide. Stephanie also spearheads Her Campus's additional user-facing initiatives, including 22 Under 22, the InfluenceHer Collective and High School Ambassador Program, oversaw Her Campus's first book, The Her Campus Guide to College Life which was a back-to-school bestseller at Barnes & Noble, and led Her Campus's acquisition of HerUni Media Limited. Stephanie has spoken at Harvard University, Stanford University, S.H.E. Summit, University of Southern California, and more and she is a 2016 EY Entrepreneurial Winning Woman. Stephanie is a 2010 graduate of Harvard University where she was a member of Delta Gamma.