San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

The Daily Aztec 2020 Presidential Poll methodology report

Emily Burgess
Respondents were asked to select one or more Democratic presidential candidates they think should win the nomination. Businessman Andrew Yang was voted as third place but was omitted from the graphic as his campaign is since suspended.


With the California Democratic Primary a few days away, The Daily Aztec set out to find hard data about what San Diego State students think about the upcoming election and who they plan to vote for.

From Feb. 3 to 20, 2020, The Daily Aztec disseminated a poll through Qualtrics, an online survey platform, with hopes of gathering a representative response from the student body of more than 33,000 students at SDSU. 

At the end of the two-and-a-half-week period, The Daily Aztec received a count of 729 total surveys. Though many responses were received, students were able to skip questions and opt out of the survey at their will. With this methodology, there was no way to establish a true margin of error. Each question received anywhere from 500 to more than 700 responses.

707 respondents gave answers to their age with 63.3% identifying as female and 30.8% identifying as male. 1.5% identified as non-binary while just 0.28% preferred not to state or did not know.

Of those who answered the question (707), 55% were sophomores and juniors. 15.5% were freshmen, 24.3% were seniors and 4.95% were graduate students.

The poll was advertised through social media and word-of-mouth methods during the two-and-a-half-week polling period. With the rationale that most of The Daily Aztec staff have friends on social media that are also in the school of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, efforts were made to email many other departments and respective faculty positions to spread the word. The Daily Aztec also spread the poll through a URL in addition to a QR code that was spread via social media and physical fliers. 

The sample taken of the SDSU student population was taken at face value, not weighted by college, gender, race or education level. However, respondents were required to enter the college their major falls under and calculations of their representation were taken from that. Representations from each of the colleges are as follows based on demographic data from the university.

Professional Studies and Fine Arts:

230 students out of 4,785 = 4.81%


College of Sciences:

89 students out of 5,861 = 1.52%


College of Arts and Letters:

157 students out of 4,202 = 3.736%


College of Business:

73 students out of 6,144 = 1.18%


College of Education:

19 students out of 1,807 = 1.05%


College of Engineering:

38 students out of 3,991 = 0.952%


College of Health and Human Services:

58 students out of 4,898 = 1.18%


Undeclared majors:

17 students out of 1,785 = 0.95%


Other departments:

25 students out of 2,860 = 0.87%


The poll was divided into four parts: questions about the student’s demographics (age, major, identity), political preferences for the 2020 election (political party, voting registration, democratic or republican candidate choices), questions about the current state of the Trump administration and questions related to SDSU (administration satisfaction, SDSU West, Interfraternity Council restrictions).

All respondent information collected through the poll will remain confidential.

Questions specifically about 2020 Democratic candidates were asked in the second section of the poll. These questions were only available to students who are registered to vote as Democrats or Independents/No Party Preference, as they are the only political demographic that can vote in the upcoming Democratic primary. If students selected their party preference in Question 2.3 as Republican, Green, Libertarian or Other, the poll forwarded them several questions ahead to avoid answers to the 2020 Democratic nomination that would not have been as qualitative.

In this forwarding process, 696 students answered the question about their political party preference. Out of the 696 students, 129 chose parties that were not Democrat, Independent or NPP.

Those 129 students were then forwarded to the third section of the poll (Question 3.1).

The poll questions were ordered and asked after consulting with research professors at SDSU and analyzing how professional polling institutions such as the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute and Harris Interactive, among others, establish their questions.

The goal of the consultations was to establish questions that do not lead or add a bias to the students who take this poll.

Limitations to the poll came from two main factors: online advertising and Qualtrics. We could not effectively target specific demographics in order to make our data sample more representative as the poll was conducted on a volunteer basis. Qualtrics also limited our capabilities to prevent duplicate surveys — with keyword searches on the final data, this was fortunately not a problem.

The Daily Aztec hopes the data collected from this initiative will give the SDSU community an outlook into how the student body views the current political climate as well as university-centric issues.

See the whole dataset here:

The Daily Aztec 2020 Poll
About the Contributors
Jack Molmud, Live editor
Jack is the editor for The Daily Aztec Live show. He transferred to SDSU in 2018 as a journalism major; reporting on many video stories for student housing, the southern border and school construction projects. Jack is a news writer at KUSI News and enjoys reading about music and politics in his free time. Follow his Twitter @Jmolmud.
Emily Burgess, Graphics Editor
Emily is a junior at San Diego State. She is pursuing a degree in graphic design with a double minor in marketing and interdisciplinary studies.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
The Daily Aztec 2020 Presidential Poll methodology report