Campus: San Francisco State University -- February 12, 2003
Nearly Two Of Three SFSU Students Voted In November
Election, Survey Reports
Registration, get-out-the-vote drive spurs nearly 2,000 students
to register to vote
San Francisco State University students voted at a significantly higher
rate than eligible voters across the United States, according to results
of a survey conducted by the Public Research Institute, an independent
public policy research organization based at the University.
Nearly 66 percent SFSU students who are eligible voters cast ballots
in the November 2002 election, the survey reported. Nationwide, 39 percent
of eligible voters cast ballots in the election, according to the Committee
for the Study of the American Electorate. In San Francisco, 50 percent
of eligible voters cast ballots, according to the San Francisco Department
About 57 percent of eligible college students nationwide voted in the
1996 presidential election, according to a Panetta Institute survey.
“Students at San Francisco State tend to vote in high numbers
for various reasons,” said SFSU director of civic engagement Marsha
Nye Adler, who compiled the survey report and spearheaded a voter registration
and get-out-the-vote drive on campus. “The city’s and University’s
tradition of political activism draws students to the campus, and many
pick up the activist spirit after arriving here. The Bay Area also has
a traditionally higher turnout than most of the country. In addition,
SFSU students tend to be somewhat older than other undergraduates, which
follows the general trend of rising voting rates as people mature.”
Among 265 respondents to an e-mail questionnaire sent to randomly selected
SFSU students who are eligible voters, 65.5 percent said they voted
in the election. About 34.5 percent said they did not vote in the election.
A telephone survey conducted after the 2000 presidential election found
that 74.4 percent of SFSU students who were eligible voters cast ballots
in that election.
The most recent SFSU election survey also found that 67 percent of respondents
are either “very interested” or “fairly interested”
SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan commissioned the survey to determine
students’ participation level and reaction to the 2002 election.
“I am quite pleased, though not surprised, that so many of our
students voted in the recent election,” Corrigan said. “San
Francisco State students are among the most politically active college
students in the country. They are concerned about issues that affect
their communities and the entire world, they are eager to participate
in the political process, and they believe that they can make a difference.”
SFSU mounted an extensive voter registration and get-out-the-vote drive
that netted nearly 2,000 registrations on campus. The University provided
voter education materials and information on issues and candidates so
that students could vote knowledgeably. In addition, the University
held a forum on campus with San Francisco and statewide candidates for
office, provided links to extensive online resources about voting and
ballot issues, and disseminated e-mail, Internet and voicemail reminders
from President Corrigan to students.
Founded in 1984, the Public Research Institute 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.
One of the largest campuses in the CSU system, SFSU was founded in 1899
and today is a highly diverse, comprehensive, public and urban university.
Contact: Matt Itelson, (415) 338-1743; (415) 338-1665;