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YWS Polling Survey Results

by Riverlight

Today, I ended I survey that I performed on YWS users so as to ascertain roughly where YWS users fell on the political compass regarding American politics. My initial hypothesis was that an overwhelming majority would support Joe Biden, that most would support Joe Biden and leftist policies, and that none would approve of Pres. Trump's term.

To some degree, I was wrong.

There were 11 questions with an additional space for notes, observations, and queries. If and when I perform future polls, I will most certainly be taking another look at these notes. All data will be listed or combined in questions barring "Where do you receive your news?" as there were additional sources not considered. There were a total of 31 respondents, far more than I had dared to hope for. Thank you to all of the survey participants.

Questions: Which age group do you fall under? Which of the following best describes you? Please describe your gender and sexuality.

A general question meant to enforce other pieces of data regarding politics, 14 respondents (45.2%) were aged 17 years or younger. Only 3, or 9.7%, did not clarify their ages. The remaining 14 identified as being 18 years or older, most falling into the 18-24 and 25-30 categories.

All respondents identified as being white, Latino, Native American, or Asian. 93.5% identified as being at least part white.

There were 9 males, 18 females, and 4 gender-queer/non-binary respondents, each with their own sexualities and descriptions thereof.

Question: Which Political Party do you identify with the most?

Unlike my expectations, only a plurality (not a majority) of respondents identified as Democrats. However, a strong left wing coalition did arise-- Democrats 35.5%, Socialist 3.2%, Peace and Freedom 12.9%, Green 3.2%, and Progressive 9.7%. In all, the left wing coalition's totals numbered 64.5%.

On the other end of the political spectrum, 6.5% were Republicans, 6.5% Constitutionals, and 3.2% that identified as "right leaning." For a grand total of 16.2%, the right wing minority would be defeated if this survey represented all of America rather than just YWS members, including non-Americans.

16.1% of respondents identified as Independents. 3.2% were non-Americans.

Question: Who would you like to see become president in 2020?

Unsurprisingly, a majority preferred Biden to Trump (58%). 19.4% were in favor of a second Trump term, while 16.2 would have chosen another candidate. These candidates wee Sen. Bernie Sanders, someone's dog, Libertarian Jo Jorgensen, Jesus, and New Zealand evangelist Ray Comfort. One respondent was undecided while the other proclaimed hatred for America. (To that respondent, we've all hated America at one point or another.) Based upon my calculations, this means one member of the leftist coalition supports Trump's presidency.

One commentor proclaimed that "Trump is a bully, [and] I think that Biden is a moron," instead emphasizing their clear preferences of both Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence.

Question: Which three issues are most important to you in 2020?

Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 Pandemic was the hottest topic (71% all placed it in their top 3!), followed by civil rights (38.7%), and climate change (35.5%). Additional responses that did not fall under the broader listed issues were "General Freedom," "Police Brutality," and a longer response detailing multiple important issues.

"Many of the important issues fell under the same umbrella. Healthcare, abortion, and the pandemic should all be the same option," one survey taker said. While others may or may not agree with this statement, there were multiple reasons that these were not combined-- the most important one being that the majority of Americans do not see each issue the same way or prioritize them differently.

Another said, "lol trying to pick *3* issues when I am worried about every single goddamn one of them this year."

Question: Do you approve of President Trump's Term so far?

A super-majority of 77.4% disapproved of Trump's term in office. 2 respondents (6.5%) did not have a preference, and 16.1% (5 respondents) looked upon Trump's term favorably. In the next survey, this question will be more specific as it is currently unlikely (less than 15% chance) that Trump will win re-election according to the 538 2020 Forecast.

Question: Who do you will win in 2020?

Surprisingly, this question showed that many YWS users are/were superstitious. 19.2% refused to name a winner because they were afraid of jinxing it.

54.8% believed Biden would ultimately be the winner compared to 25.8% that favored Trump's re-election chances.

Question: Who should replace RBG?

Unsurprisingly, 71% (22 people) believed the winner of the election should replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court compared to 19% that believed Trump should go ahead and fill the seat. Said one respondent, "On the second to last (the Supreme Court one) I put the sitting President should choose, not because I think he would make a good decision (because he won't), but just because that's how I think it should be done."

Question: If Trump wins, would you support a second secession?

This, I admit, was a wild card that none of the respondents likely expected. An optional question, 2 people opted out of answering it. Of the 29 that did answer, only 44.8% stood against secession. However, only 34.5% were on the fence, all ten people answering "Maybe." The remaining 20.7% (6 respondents) answered with a firm and simple "Yes."

Secession would be unlikely, but secessionist movements are starting to grow and gain traction nationwide, particularly in Texas and California.

In Retrospect

I had a lot of fun doing this survey, and I'm so happy that so many people were willing to take the time to do it! Despite erring on my hypotheses regarding how I believed the polling would go, I am still satisfied with all of these answers. Thank you to all of those that participated, and I hope that I'll be able to pull you in for my planned post-Election survey.

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Fri Oct 23, 2020 4:30 am
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Shady wrote a review...

Heya Vil,

I remember taking your survey, so I am actually really interested to see these results and I'm glad you wrote this up!

I agree with some of the other reviews, re: some of the language you used was a bit emotive rather than objective. One instance that stood out to me was:

For a grand total of 16.2%, the right wing minority would be defeated if this survey represented all of America rather than just YWS members, including non-Americans.

Putting it as "the right wing minority would be defeated" is a bit alienating, especially considering the results of your survey as a whole. For example, I would identify as a right-leaning moderate, but I voted for Biden this election because Trump needs to go, but talking about me being "defeated" is a little bit uncomfy. Maybe try to be a bit more objective in talking about right-wingers I guess? Like I don't have an overwhelming attachment to the republican party and I've been toying with the idea of switching my ticket lately but using this kind of language kind of makes me want to dig my heels in and argue with you rather than being on the same page (which I otherwise would have been, seeing as I would love nothing more than for Trump to be a one-term president).

Based upon my calculations, this means one member of the leftist coalition supports Trump's presidency.

Here is another place where you make some heavy assumptions. I honestly can't remember what I answered to your poll, but I don't identify as a "leftist" and there is no possible way for me to denounce Trump's presidency more than I already do... so, what does that say for your calculations? Does that mean 2 leftists support Trump since I am one moderate/right-leaning person who can't stand Trump? I just worry that you made a lot of assumptions here. If you pooled all the data (which is what it seems like you did?) then you can't really make claims like these. If you make a statement like this you should have individual responses to support these claims where you can pair "this user identified as a leftist but still supports Trump" rather than making claims about what you think is going on. People are complex creatures who rarely fit into neat little boxes and assumptions can kill you.

My former boss would always say: "You know what they say about making assumptions? When we assume things, it always makes an a** outta u 'n me" (ass-u-me)

In the next survey, this question will be more specific as it is currently unlikely (less than 15% chance) that Trump will win re-election according to the 538 2020 Forecast.

This is another place where you're making some pretty strong assumptions. I'm personally pretty terrified that Trump is going to get another term, so saying it's "unlikely" is pretty dismissive. He lost the popular vote by quite a bit in 2016 but still managed to get elected due to the electoral college and while I hope it doesn't, it's quite feasible that they can appoint him to a second term.

~ ~ ~

I realize that the above is more my opinions than a proper review so I'll try to correct that here:

1) I think it was a good idea to do this survey and I'm interested in the replies! I'm glad you wrote this up and I'm interested in seeing the results of a post-election survey as well c:

2) You need to be really careful about the assumptions you make and what language you choose to describe your survey results so you don't alienate your respondees or readers as we are trying to get the results.

3) As one of the below people mentioned, YWS is a pretty skewed place to be taking surveys. The overwhelming majority of people haven't thought through their political beliefs until at least college and sometimes after that. For example, if you would have interviewed me when I was a teenager, I would have been hyper-conservative and parroting my parents' opinions (they're both very Pro-Trump still) but now that you're getting Adult Shady I identify as a Republican-but-not-stupid and refuse to believe that you have to endorse every single slimy politician in order to be part of the party. An anti-Trump-republican, if you will.

The tone throughout this piece was pretty anti-right-winger which, while fine to hold as an opinion if you want, isn't a super great fit for an essay like this because it seems like you are wanting to report an unbiased survey response, but it ends up seeming more like a "the majority of YWSers are smart but we've also got stupid republicans in our midst" which isn't going to make your republican readers feel nice. People are still people, even if they've got different political beliefs from you.

Overall, great work! I was a bit critique heavy here, but I DID really enjoy reading this. I honestly didn't know how the poll was going to go, and I'm really glad that you shared the results with us here ^-^

Keep writing!

Shady 8)

Riverlight says...

Yep... bias. Ned to work on that :/

I'm basing my numbers for a Trump victory on the Five Thirty Eight 2020 Forecast, which has (thus far) been highly accurate in predicting election winners. (They gave Trump a 1-in-3 chance versus Clinton; at the time of writing, he has a 12% chance to Biden's 87%, with 1% chance of a 269 tie vote).

Oh, so you're a John McCain type Republican, if I'm understanding that correctly?

I'll have someone (or several someones) read over my next survey results essay.

Shady says...

Mm... I also didn%u2019t like McCain XD honestly my tickets tend to be split (I voted for 10 republicans and 5 democrats on my 2020 absentee ballot) so it more has to do with what a candidate stands for than what party they affiliate with. My top pick in 2016 was Marco Rubio and I%u2019m really salty that the republicans chose Trump back then and are continuing to support him now. So I%u2019m not like a dogmatic republican but my votes tend to be a little right leaning (the 10 to 5 I mentioned above) so I still identify as right leaning. And people like me throw off your assumptions ;)

Riverlight says...


...Nelson Rockefeller? Reagan? Either of the Bush's? Who do you like? XD

Shady says...

Ahaha, I honestly am really bored by history and therefore don't think it's fair for me to give opinions on people who were in office well before I was old enough to be politically aware. You're going to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out who I like ;)

Honestly, I'm not a fan of most politicians. Full stop, either party, most of them are slimy and I can't stand them.

The few exceptions...

I like John Bel Edwards (current, democratic governor of Louisiana), I like Shelly Moore Capito (current, republican senator of West Virginia), and I like Marco Rubio (former republican presidential candidate in 2016). I used to also really like Tim Scott (current, republican senator of South Carolina) but he's been making me a bit uneasy recently with not denouncing Trump's sliminess so we're undecided on whether he's chill or not xD I also liked Trey Gowdy (former, republican representative in South Carolina) when he was in office when I lived in South Carolina in 2017. When Obama was in office I basically parroted my parents' hatred of him, but in retrospect, I actually really miss having him as president, so I guess we could add him as a democrat that I like.

Otherwise... really no one else comes to mind (in either party) that I actually like lol

Riverlight says...


As a Republican that misses Obama, you make no sense to me at all XD

I'll have to research those people, nor Really familiar with anyone other than Rubio :/

Shady says...

ahaha, as I said, people rarely fit into neat little boxes ;) ESPECIALLY when it comes to politics. I care more about the issues and personal (and professional) behavior than voting along party lines. I definitely didn't agree with all of Obama's policies, but his conduct was impeccable and I can't think of any scandal he participated in. Unlike certain other presidents... >.>

Riverlight says...

*cough* Trump *cough cough cough*

In that case, I will be forced to argue that Rubio did declare Trump was innocent. :/

I will say there are some Republicans I like-- tho I focus more on policy unless it's just something crazy-- e.g. Nixon was chill other than Watergate. I'm a fan of McCain Nelson Rockefeller, and... uh... what's his name...



Charles Sumner!

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Thu Oct 22, 2020 4:47 am
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niteowl wrote a review...

Not a review, more of a comment.

1) I think you posted this in the debate forum? That’s where I found it. I don’t know how many active users go there. You might have posted it on your wall as well, but again, that would limit the sample to people who follow you. I’m not sure what the best strategy to get an actual unbiased sample of users is.

2) Yeah I remember being very confused that the phone/apps wasn’t an option on the news section, given that’s where 99 percent of my information comes from. I guess if you wanted to go in detail on this, you could ask about specific news outlets regardless of how you consume it.

3) As a former young person, I’d say the assumption that young people would be more liberal was highly flawed. This might be true in a broader age range (like compared to my boomer dad who sends me those dumb email forwards about lazy and evil Democrats ) but we’re talking very young people here, people who may not have done the self examination of “what my parents taught me” versus “what I actually believe about the world”. So if their parents are more conservative, it is highly likely they will be as well. I know when I was younger I believed gay people were icky because when I asked my mom what gay meant and she responded in that nasty tone that implied it was icky and that the Iraq war was good because otherwise you hated America. It was only after learning more about gay people and seeing how well the Iraq war turned out (not) that I reexamined those assumptions. I’d say I’m more liberal now than I was at 14-15. That’s not to say age/experience will automatically make someone more liberal, but rather that I wouldn’t automatically expect liberal because of our age range. Also, the first gen Z congressman is going to be Madison Cawthorn who is endorsed by Trump so definitely a bad assumption that young=liberal.

Actually, after all that rambling I just realized that you never explained your rationale behind your hypothesis. I’m just guessing that it was based on age. While I don’t expect this to be a fully fleshed our academic analysis, I would at least explain why you thought what you did.

4) if we learned anything from the 2016 election, it’s that you cannot trust the polls. So I wouldn’t just assume Biden will win.

Okay this got really long and turned into a review of sorts. Overall, this was interesting but I agree with previous points about bias and using sources.

Riverlight says...

Thanks for the review! <3

Shady says...

(I actually knew Madison when we were both in high school and let me tell you I am not thrilled that he followed his dreams of politics xD )

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Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:02 am
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Mageheart says...

This is really interesting! I've always thought that YWS more left-leaning, so I was just as surprised as you were when I saw the results for the poll. Then again, only 31 members responded - so maybe there's more left-leaning people out there? Either way, it's really interesting!

Riverlight says...

Thanks! It really caught me off guard, especially since so many responders were under 30!

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Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:21 pm
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Morrigan wrote a review...

Hey Vil, Morri here to review your piece.

The first thing I noticed about this piece is that it's extremely biased. Reading through RavenLord's review, I think that they could have emphasized even more how biased it was. Unless you're planning on only ever writing opinion pieces, it is an excellent idea to present survey results without using language that suggests you are in favor of some answers over others. Your tone was also something that put me off. You jump to conclusions, which gives you a pretentious air. There are several examples, but this one really struck me as a problem area:

Surprisingly, this question showed that many YWS users are/were superstitious. 19.2% refused to name a winner because they were afraid of jinxing it.

If you are going to categorize this as an essay, I recommend using the essay as a source to back up a claim. This way, you can be as biased as you want, and still use the results of the survey you created. Create a thesis, and use the survey to support your main points. Five paragraph essay, baby.

I would also recommend trying to gather a larger number of responses. While you say 31 participants is a lot, it's actually quite a small sample size. I understand that YWS isn't always the best place to get participation for political surveys, but it's still a very, very small sample considering how many active members are on the site. I am not sure if you created a forum topic about it, but I recommend you do if you choose to create another survey (it sounds like you are). That way, more people might stumble across it than you reaching out to the people that already follow you on the site.

"Many of the important issues fell under the same umbrella. Healthcare, abortion, and the pandemic should all be the same option," one survey taker said. While others may or may not agree with this statement, there were multiple reasons that these were not combined-- the most important one being that the majority of Americans do not see each issue the same way or prioritize them differently.

Where is your source for saying that the majority of Americans do not prioritize these issues differently? Do not make claims that you do not have a source for. Furthermore, this comment was written in the "do you have any suggestions for the survey?" section, and is not part of survey results. To include this comment was completely irrelevant.
Another irrelevant section was the listing of every write in candidate:
while 16.2 would have chosen another candidate. These candidates wee Sen. Bernie Sanders, someone's dog, Libertarian Jo Jorgensen, Jesus, and New Zealand evangelist Ray Comfort.
A better way to handle this would have been to list any candidates that had more than one mention, and to say that the other section of "other" (lol) was just, other.

All in all, while you did a lot of work setting up an interesting political survey, you have a long way to go in the fields of presenting facts without bias, organizing your thoughts into an essay, and choosing relevant parts of the survey to include. I hope that this review proves useful to you. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Riverlight says...

Yeah, I need to work on my bias. Although, there some spots where anyone could be surprised, given the large sample of younger respondents, but that's another issue.

As for the prioritization of issues, Pew Research is an unbiased, highly factual for additional surveys regarding political issues.

Thanks for the review and suggestions! <3

Morrigan says...

Cool! I'm glad you have a source. You should include it in your piece.

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Wed Oct 21, 2020 9:59 pm
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GrandWild wrote a review...

Hi, Vil! Raven here with a quick review.
So I don't usually review political pieces, but since I took part in this survey I figured I should give it a read.
I love that you were curious about the opinions of people here on YWS--it's important to know your audience. That being said, your summary of the survey read as extremely biased. It's fine to have bias--that's how we get political parties. However, in an educational survey, reviewing it with such blatant and insensitive opinion is something of a no-no. Using words like "unsurprisingly" and "we've all hated America at one point or another" can alienate and offend specific members of the audience. I'm not saying I agree with certain political opinions, but adding your own feelings to a survey (and in an indelicate way such as that) can lead to clashes that future politicians should be trying to prevent. Everyone who took this survey and answered the questions are human beings with their own reasons for supporting what they support. A politician's job is not to hold these feelings against their opponents; their job is to understand why the opponents feel this way and make an effort to remedy that through education, economic action, or otherwise.
Your results were interesting and I appreciated your use of sources and quotations, but I can't condone such heavily implied bias in an academic piece. YWS is a safe space for a lot of our young writers, and serious political pieces like this with bias included can "rock the boat", to quote A Series of Unfortunate Events. My advice to you going forward with another project such as this would be to distance yourself from the issue far more.
Thank you for reading and happy writing!


Riverlight says...

*notes that down*

Thanks for participating, and thanks for the review! <3

GrandWild says...

No prob <3 Sorry for the harshness--it's something I feel kinda strongly about.

You must believe in free will; there is no choice.
— Isaac Bashevis Singer