Phase III: Voting Analysis


Surveys were collected from 540 individuals who voted November 26–December 9, 2018 in Auraria’s first PB The overall survey response rate was 59%, higher than the average voter survey response rate in PB processes across the country in 2014–2015.7 In-person voting opportunities were hosted at multiple locations across campus for 10 days, including one structured Auraria PB voter information seminar. Ballots also could be completed online. A total of 918 individuals voted for up to 4 projects they wanted funded on campus. Out of 12 potential projects, ultimately, Auraria PB voters approved 7.

What follows is an analysis of the data collected through these voter surveys. Where appropriate, the data is compared to Auraria campus population data.

Key Findings

Survey respondents were generally representative of Auraria’s population in race and ethnicity, except whites were slightly underrepresented

  • Traditional age students (under 25) were overrepresented among Auraria PB voters

  • People who identified as male were underrepresented, compared to the Auraria student population

  • People with low incomes (below $50,000) were overrepresented among voters, compared to the Auraria student population

  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents learned about the Auraria PB vote by passing by an in-person voting site

  • 13% of respondents learned about the vote from a campus or community group, mostly from Auraria PB organizers

  • Only one in ten respondents learned about the vote from a school administrator or student government, demonstrating a lack of institutional support for the process

  • 83% of respondents had not participated in PB before the vote, reflecting engagement from students who were not previously involved in the process

  • Almost all respondents (92%) believed PB should continue.

  • Auraria PB attracted the involvement of students who are not typically involved in public affairs. Over half of respondents (54%) had not previously worked with others in the past year to address a campus/community problem, and 8% of participants were ineligible to vote in official government elections

  • Auraria PB attracted participation from people who were skeptical of campus input processes. 39% of respondents believed they had only a little or no influence on campus, and approximately one in four (26%) reported only a little to no trust in campus administrators

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Demographic Data

Age

People aged 20–24 made up 46% of survey respondents, while people 35 and older made up only 7%.

  • Comparison to campus data: Auraria student censuses do not break down age according to the Auraria PB voter surveys. Instead, they indicate whether students are traditional college age (under 25) or not (over 25). Traditional age students were overrepresented among respondents, and non-traditional age students were underrepresented, compared to Auraria campus demographics

  • Comparison to North American PB voter data: Less than 1 in 5 surveyed PB voters in 2014–2015 processes was under 25 years old. Auraria PB overrepresented young people, compared to national PB voter statistics

Household Income

71% of survey respondents reported a household income below $50,000 per year, including 42% who reported household incomes below $25,000 per year.

  • Comparison to North American PB voter data: About half of surveyed PB voters in 2014–2015 processes reported household incomes of less than $50,000 per year. Auraria PB therefore overrepresented people with lower incomes, compared to North American PB processes

Race and Ethnicity

More than half of survey respondents identified as a person of color, including about 11% who identified as Black/African American, and 29% who identified as Hispanic/Latinx.

  • Comparison to campus data: Across nearly all race/ethnicity categories, survey respondents were reasonably representative of campus data.

  • Comparison to North American PB voter data: Just over half of surveyed PB voters in 2014–2015 processes identified as a person of color, with about 1 in 5 identifying as Black/African American. In the vast majority of 2014–2015 processes with voter data, Black/African American and white residents were overrepresented or representative of the local census, among survey respondents.

Gender

More women (59%) voted in Auraria PB than men (37%). Also, 3% of survey respondents identified as gender non-binary.

  • Comparison to campus data: Men were underrepresented by 9%.

  • Comparison to North American PB voter data: Similar to Auraria, the majority of surveyed PB voters in 2014–2015 were women. The vast majority of PB processes with voter data reported an over-representation of women compared to their local demographics.

Institutional Affiliation

Schools were not represented proportionally, with Metropolitan State University being overrepresented (55%), and Community College of Denver being underrepresented (14%).

  • Comparison to campus data: MSU students were overrepresented by 11%, and CCD students were underrepresented by 9%

How Respondents Heard about PB Voting

The majority of respondents learned about Auraria PB voting by passing by an in-person voting site (63%) or from a community/campus group (13%). Only 1 in 10 respondents learned about PB voting from student government and/or a school administrator.

  • Of those who indicated they heard about PB voting from a campus/community group, 44% indicated they heard about it from Auraria PB volunteers.

Earlier Participation in the PB Process

Just over 8 in 10 respondents (83%) indicated that they were not involved in the PB process besides voting.

Civic Engagement, Beliefs, Efficacy

Community Engagement

Just over half of the respondents (54%) reported that they had not, in the past 12 months, worked with other people to fix a problem in their community.

Past Voting

Nearly 8 in 10 respondents (79%) indicated that they had voted in the most recent national election (November 2018 midterms). However, 8% indicated they were not eligible to vote.

Political Efficacy

Most survey respondents believed they had at least some influence on making the campus better (61%) and had at least some trust in campus administrators to do what is right (74%).

  • However, 39% of survey respondents believed they had only a little or no influence on making their community better, while 26% did not believe, or believed only a little, that they could trust school administrators to do what is right.

Administrators don’t take students’ views and interests into account. This needs to change.
— Auraria PB Voter

Continuing Auraria PB

Almost all respondents (92%) believed Auraria PB should continue the next year.

Number of Voters and Ballots

Winning Projects

12 projects were placed on the Auraria PB ballot, and, in the end, voters chose to fund 7 of them:

  1. Textbook rental pilot at the Auraria library (16% of votes)

  2. Auraria Campus Kitchen (16% of votes)

  3. Improving library café wifi (14% of votes)

  4. Concert on campus (9% of votes)

  5. More microwaves on campus (7% of votes)

  6. Campus mural installation (7% of votes)

  7. Tri-institutional native and indigenous student retreat (6% of votes)