Students surveyed at the University of Georgia heavily favor Joe Biden for president in the 2020 election, with Biden receiving over twice as many responses as President Donald Trump.

UGA’s Survey Research Center polled UGA students on their political opinions regarding the 2020 general election. The survey’s results cannot be inferred as representative of the entire state of Georgia, as it applies only to UGA’s student population, according to the Survey Research Center.

The survey was conducted in partnership with The Red & Black and asked students their preferred candidates, the political issues that matter most to them, how they plan to vote and whether they feel hopeful about the next four years going into the Nov. 3 election, among other items related to the election. 

967 undergraduate and graduate students responded, and the results include data from students in 15 of UGA’s 17 schools and colleges, representing prospective voters from 20 states. 

The survey was open from Sept. 30 to Oct. 9. It was anonymous and was distributed with a link through The Red & Black’s email newsletter.

According to the survey’s results, 68% of respondents favored Biden and 25% favored Trump. About 6% of respondents were undecided or planned to vote for a third-party candidate.

In the survey, President Trump received a favorability rating of 27%, and an unfavorability rating of 71%.

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In Georgia’s U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, 63% of respondents favored Ossoff and 27% favored Perdue. 10% were undecided.

In Georgia’s special U.S. Senate race, which has 21 candidates on the ballot, 37% of students favored Democratic candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock, with Republican Rep. Doug Collins receiving 15% of respondents’ support and incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler receiving 11%. 27% of respondents remained undecided.

Assessing the issues

The issue that respondents found most important was COVID-19, with 20.9% choosing it as the issue they view as most important.7.2% of respondents said COVID-19 was least important to them. 27.9% of respondents who favor Biden listed the pandemic as their most important issue.

The economy was the second most important issue to respondents, with 20.7%, but a roughly equal percentage — 20.6% — chose it as their least important issue. 63.4% of students who favor Trump chose the economy as their most important issue.

17.7% of respondents said that climate change was their most valued issue. 10.8% chose it as their least important issue. 23.3% of respondents who favor Biden chose it as most important. Only 2.5% of Trump supporters listed it as their most important issue, with 32.9% listing it as least important.

Racial justice came next, with 14.3% of students saying it was most important. 19.5% of those who favor Biden listed it as most important. 8.8% of all respondents listed it as least important. 1.6% of Trump supporters said it was most important to them, and 24.7% said it was least important.

The Supreme Court was 12.6% of respondents’ most important issue, with 6.8% choosing it as least important. 15.6% of those who favor Trump chose it as most important. If Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is confirmed to the Supreme Court, Trump will be the first president since Ronald Reagan to have more than two justices confirmed to the court during his presidency.

9.6% of respondents chose health care as most important, and 3.1% chose it as least important.Foreign policy was chosen as most important by 2.4% of respondents, and least important by 21%.

Immigration was the least important issue to students, with only 1.8% choosing it as most important and 21.7% choosing it as least important. During the 2016 election, 60% of registered voters in the U.S. reported immigration as an important factor in deciding a presidential candidate, according to Ballotpedia.

Ballots, COVID-19 response and confidence

The survey also asked students how they would be most likely to cast their ballot.

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The most respondents, 39.8%, chose that they would vote by absentee ballot. 47.2% of Biden supporters chose absentee and 21.5% of Trump supporters chose it.

A close second, 39.3% of respondents said they would vote early in-person, with 43.3% of Trump supporters choosing it and 40% of Biden supporters choosing it.

18.7% said they would vote in person on Election Day, with 34% of Trump supporters choosing this option and 10.9% of Biden supporters choosing it. 

Another question the survey posed was which level of government students think should take the lead in responding to the coronavirus pandemic — local, state or federal.

51.7% of respondents said the federal government should take the lead, with 69.9% of Biden supporters choosing federal and 9.3% of Trump supporters choosing it.7.1% of respondents who favored Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen said the federal government should take the lead.

26.1% of all respondents said that state governments should take the lead, with 52.2% of Trump supporters favoring state lead and 50% of Jorgensen supporters favoring it. 14.8% of Biden supporters said the state should take the lead.

22.2% said local governments should lead the COVID-19 response, with 42.9% of Jorgensen supporters choosing this option and 38.5% of Trump supporters choosing it. 15.3% of Biden supporters chose local government.

The survey also asked students how confident they were that the next four years in the U.S. will be better than the previous four years.

The most respondents — 30.8% — were unsure whether the next four years would be better. 32.7% of Biden supporters, 27.5% of Trump supporters and 17.9% of Jorgensen supporters said they were unsure.

26.2% of respondents said they were somewhat confident, with 30.4% of Trump supporters, 25.6% of Biden supporters and 17.9% of Jorgensen supporters.

23.3% said they were somewhat doubtful that the next four years would be better. This included 35.7% of Jorgensen supporters, 27.9% of Biden supporters and 7.3% of Trump supporters.

10.1% were very doubtful, including 17.9% of Jorgensen supporters, 11.6% of Biden supporters and only 4% of Trump supporters.

The least respondents — 9.7% — were very confident. 30.8% of Trump supporters, 10.7% of Jorgensen supporters and only 2.1% of Biden supporters were very confident.