Campus: San Francisco State University -- February 23, 2005

SFSU Students Top U.S. Voter Stats

Once again the San Francisco State student body has exceeded the national average in civic engagement. Eighty-nine percent of the SFSU students polled said they voted in last Novembers presidential election. In comparison, a recent nationwide survey revealed that seventy-seven percent of college students went to the polls.

Results come from an online survey of 581 students conducted by the SFSU campus-based Public Research Institute (PRI) immediately after the November 2004 election day. The survey also revealed that SFSU student attitudes about the effectiveness of a democratic process were very positive. A majority (sixty percent) disagreed with the statement "people like me don't have any say about what government does." The primary reasons for voting were "It's my responsibility" (thirty-two percent) and "I'm voting against a specific candidate"(twenty percent). Only forty-five percent of those polled said that their parents voted in most or every election.

SFSU students are actively engaged in their communities beyond voting. More than one-third said that they take part in volunteer community service activities at least once a month. Sixteen percent of SFSU students reported that they participate in political, governmental or issue-oriented organizations and five percent have participated in political campaigns. More than half the students polled say that they have attended political rallies or demonstrations.

"I am delighted though not surprised by these results," said SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan, whose office commissioned the survey. "Good voter turn out just doesn't happen we make it happen." He noted that events like local candidate nights, get-out-the-vote rallies and voter registration of students by students is "a long-standing tradition on our campus." An earlier study conducted by Harvard University and the Chronicle of Higher Education found that SFSU is one of the campuses in the U.S. to most effectively increase voter participation among students. SFSU student participation in the 2004 election was thirty-two percent higher than in 2000.

Founded in 1984, the Public Research Institute is based at San Francisco State University and provides policy research, data collection, analysis and consultation to SFSU and to government agencies, nonprofit organizations, community groups and businesses in the Bay Area and California.

Contact: Denize Springer, 415/405-3803 or 415/338-1665

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