The Arizona Desert Lamp

Secret, secret! We’ve got a secret!

Posted in Campus, Politics by Connor Mendenhall on 25 February 2009

Now that you’ve read the proclamations of most of this year’s ASUA candidates, you may be eager to hear about policies more substantive than “hugs.” A pity, then, that cuddle-peddling candidate Adam Back refused to complete our 2009 Campus Policy Survey, citing his belief that “life is not as easy as bubbling in an answer.”

Fortunately, 14 of Mr. Back’s colleagues submitted their answers to our ten questions on student government, along with 45 UA students. We’ve finished analyzing the results and preparing candidate profiles, and the results are now available here. But before you click that link, we should come clean about one thing: our survey was more than just a way to report each candidate’s preferred policy on each issue.

In fact, the survey questions are a modified Nolan quiz, a tool designed to plot policy preferences on a two-dimensional representation of the political spectrum. In addition to recording the choices of each candidate, we used them to compile a “personal issues” and “economic issues” score for each respondent, which shows where they fall on the policy spectrum and how their views compare to those of students at large. There are plenty of worthy criticisms of the Nolan chart, but it’s a useful way to think with more clarity about policy preferences, and we hope that’s how you’ll use it.

So what says the survey? Check out the chart:

'09 ASUA Policy SurveyThe economic issues axis measures the degree to which each respondent’s policy preferences might muck with your wallet. Increased spending, higher fees, and more regulation earn negative scores, while cutting costs and reducing fees earn positive ones. Likewise with the personal issues: interventionist policies like installing cameras in residence halls or attempting to quash offensive speech scoot your dot to the lower right, while policies that respect individual autonomy move it toward the upper left.

Blue dots are students, red dots are candidates—and a quick look shows that most of the latter aren’t organized along a standard left-right spectrum or evenly distributed near the origin, but clustered in one quadrant. To see the candidate by candidate breakdown, check out the full results. It’s pretty clear that candidate preferences are out of line with the public responses, but the following chart makes it even clearer:

Policy Preference CategoriesThere aren’t many inferences that can be drawn with certainty from an informal survey like ours, but it’s safe to say one thing: this year’s candidates want a bigger, broader, more powerful student government. Do you?

We’ll be taking a closer look at the results over the next few days, but for now, you should take a look yourself. To see all the results in greater detail, please visit our survey page.


5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Dave said, on 25 February 2009 at 11:23 am

    Did I fall in the Douchebagarian section?

  2. Connor Mendenhall said, on 25 February 2009 at 11:27 am

    Good point. Needs a Z-axis.

  3. Ben Kalafut said, on 25 February 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I owe “that” Nolan a phone call and will mention this to him; I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.

  4. Kevin Keys said, on 25 February 2009 at 5:48 pm

    the united states has for the last 25 years experienced a big bout of bipartisan authoritarianism, as much from the ‘publicans as from the democrats. lookin on the bright side, our ASUA candidates are simply mimicking what they see in the real political world!


  5. A. Hill said, on 26 February 2009 at 12:35 am

    outstanding work, gentlemen! i’m curious which dot i am.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: