Ohio Wesleyan holds a Mock Presidential Convention every four years, choosing a presidential and vice presidential candidate following the protocols of a national nominating convention. This year’s Mock Convention will be held Feb. 21-22. Students identified their top issues and candidates in an advance survey. (2016 Photo by Mark Schmitter)

2020 Election Survey

Ohio Wesleyan Mock Convention Poll Identifies Top Issues and Candidates for Today’s Students

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – For students at Ohio Wesleyan University, the top five issues affecting the 2020 presidential election are, in order of importance, climate change, student loan debt, immigration, abortion, and LGBTQ rights.

More than 300 Ohio Wesleyan students took the survey last month in classes representing all grade levels and multiple academic disciplines. It was administered during 11 a.m. classes on a designated Friday to capture a random sample of student interests and opinions.

Other important issues for students, also in order, include reforming the healthcare system, addressing police violence, providing treatment and support for opioid addition, conducting HIV and AIDS research, containing Russia, creating jobs, reducing the federal debt, fighting ISIS, and addressing the trade war with China.

The survey is part of Ohio Wesleyan’s 2020 Democratic Mock Presidential Convention, set for Feb. 21-22. The simulated convention, an OWU tradition dating back to 1884, always focuses on the political party not currently occupying the White House.

As for their choice of presidential candidates, Ohio Wesleyan students said if the vote were tomorrow, their top Democratic vote-getters would be former Vice President Joe Biden (27%), U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont (25%), and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (15%).

But the students also said if the general election were tomorrow, they believe Republican President Donald Trump would be returned to office (49%), with Sanders as his closest Democratic rival (20%).

A total of 75% of the respondents said they plan to vote in November, though currently only 72% are registered.

Of the survey participants, almost 15% identified as strong Democrats; 21% as Democrats, 18% as Democrat-leaning Independents; 23% as Independents; 8% as Republican-leaning Independents; almost 11% as Republicans; and 4% as strong Republicans.

During Ohio Wesleyan’s two-day Mock Convention, students will gather to debate and adopt a party platform and to nominate and approve presidential and vice presidential candidates. Students drafted the party platform following a series of hearings in the fall.

Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Mock Convention and read the party platform at www.owu.edu/mockconvention. Follow convention news at www.facebook.com/OWUMock. The Feb. 21-22 event is free and open to the public.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.