An anonymous political poll of 87 Hotchkiss Hall residents on Oct. 25-26 revealed an overwhelming amount of support from the student body of The Master’s University for Donald Trump in the U.S. Presidential race, especially when compared to his rival, Hillary Clinton.
When given the choice between voting for Clinton, Trump or a third party candidate, 78 percent of students said they plan on backing Trump on Nov. 8. Twenty-one percent said they plan to vote for a third party, while a paltry 1 percent said they will be voting for Clinton.
The results grew even starker on the second question. If forced to choose exclusively between Clinton or Trump, 91% of students said they would choose the Republican nominee.
Writing on the back of their polls, many students expressed that for them, a vote for Trump isn’t really a vote for Trump at all. It’s a vote against Clinton.
“A vote for Trump is needed because a vote for anyone but Trump is a vote for Hillary,” wrote a senior. “He is the lesser of two evils.”
This “lesser of two evils” argument resonated throughout the ballots that supported Trump.
“Although there are many areas concerning Donald Trump that I disagree with, I believe he is the better option of the two,” wrote a sophomore. “I didn’t choose a third party candidate because, in the scheme of things, they don’t really have a chance at getting elected.”
For a few TMU students, one key issue removed any possibility of supporting Clinton: abortion.
“I cannot wrap my head around supporting a candidate that pushes for the legal killing of unborn babies,” wrote a senior. “I think if Hillary gets elected, it would be a disaster. I think these issues go behind politics.”
Such strong support for Trump among TMU students – itself an evangelical institution with a mostly white student body – matches up with Trump’s white evangelical support nationwide. A national poll released by the Public Religion Research Institute on Oct. 11 found that 65 percent of white voters who identify as evangelicals plan to vote for Trump.
Despite strong pro-Trump sentiments from TMU students, 22 percent find themselves so disgusted with both major candidates that they plan on voting for neither.
“For me, it’s a matter of conscience,” wrote a junior. “If you’re going to rail on Hillary Clinton for her moral inadequacies, you have to take a long look at Trump too. It’s a two-way street. I stand with evangelical leaders like Russell Moore who have stood against Trump from the beginning.”
One student believes that Christians compromising in this election is an embarrassment.
“Christians backing Trump in this election reminds me of Ancient Israel selling out to the Egyptians when Assyria posed a major threat,” wrote a junior. “The Israelites viewed pagan Egypt as a ‘lesser evil’ that would advance their political agenda. How’d that work out? Not well. Christians who vote Trump will regret it.”
Overall, the political poll revealed a general disillusionment among TMU students towards the election. Of the 87 participants, only one wrote a comment expressing genuine support for Trump (“build that wall!”). The rest of the pro-Trump comments spoke in terms of a “lesser of two evils” scenario.
For Christians across the country, the 2016 Presidential Election provides two undesirable candidates and difficult choices. One thing that most TMU students can agree upon, however, is a written comment from a freshman.
“This election is a disaster.”