As The Presidential Election Looms, How Will State College Vote?
There’s no avoiding election season in State College. Now that we’re no longer getting stopped on every corner and asked if we’ve registered to vote, groups supporting each of the presidential candidates are taking over to try to sway whoever comes across them.
Hillary Clinton is taking a sizable lead in what her campaign calls “checkmate” states, such as North Carolina and Florida — states which have a chance to end Donald Trump’s chances of winning the election, according to the Associated Press. Early voting began in 37 states, with the AP’s Election Research and Quality Control Group counting Clinton leading in four states, Trump leading in one and close to a tie in Arizona and Florida. The early vote has been historically utilized by Democrats far more often than Republicans, however, making it a fallible indicator.
As the votes tick in across the country, Penn State students and State College residents are getting ready to head to the booths to cast their own ballots. A breakdown of the area’s voting history and primary results, taken from the Centre County online database of election results, can help us understand who will be getting the borough’s voter approval.
State College has voted overwhelmingly Democratic in recent elections, outnumbering the Republican vote by approximately 2-1, although 2012 was slightly closer. The trend should continue as Democrats are still the majority of voters in the liberal college town, but with more than 19,000 registered voters in State College who did not take part in the primary election, the town is still theoretically up for grabs.
With 15,236 Democrats and 8,671 Republican voters registered in State College at the time of the primaries, the Democrats outnumber Republicans by 6,565 voters, or 43 percent. This looks like an easy win for the Democrats, following the trend of the past decade, but things could get interesting if a large number of young voters decide that not voting is better than voting for someone they don’t fully support, which has been a consistent theme this election cycle.
Both primary candidates chosen by the State College voters are out of the race, so constituents have either jumped aboard their party bandwagon or have gone looking for another home. Far-left voters who wanted Bernie Sanders may find comfort with Libertarian and Green Party candidates in opposition to what they see as an unfair primary season, but if they rally behind Clinton, the sheer number of Democrats in the Borough can carry her through.
As for the outnumbered Republicans, a weak Democrat turnout due to disillusioned young voters would be the only party’s only hope of taking State College, but they’ll need every registered Republican to vote and at least 6,565 Democrats to stay home on election day or vote for someone other than Clinton to even the numbers game.
The world will be watching the two major candidates closely, but some candidates have slipped through the cracks. Here’s a few of the write-in votes counted in State College during the Primaries. A full list of write-ins can be found here.
1- Finn McCool
2- Mickey Mouse
3- UGHH! no one
Though you probably shouldn’t be holding your breath waiting for State College to rally in support of a famous mouse, the college crowd will have a major impact on how Centre County swings on November 8.