PSU Votes aggregates election info for Penn State community

October 31, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa -- With the presidential election fast approaching, many Penn State students are trying to sift through myriad issues and slogans to make informed decisions when they enter the voting booth. PSU Votes, a network of volunteers across the University, is providing the campus community with easy access to election-related information, while also collecting data on students’ political views and the media habits that shape their beliefs.

“The idea is to have (election) information in one place,” said Jack Carroll, Edward M. Frymoyer Professor at the College of Information Sciences and Technology, who organized the PSU Votes website with Hao Jiang, an IST doctorate student.

The overall objective of PSU Votes, Carroll said, is to get young people thinking about political issues and ready to vote in the election.

On the PSU Votes website (, which opened in late October, students can vote for President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney in a straw poll until midnight Tuesday, Nov. 6. Visitors to the website can also get information on registering to vote, learn about the candidates and where they stand on issues, and see a listing of notable dates and events related to the election, which will be held Nov. 6.

Carroll ran similar surveys during the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns. In the 2004 race between John Kerry and President George W. Bush 63.7 percent of respondents voted for Kerry. During the 2008 campaign, 64.6 percent voted for Obama, 29.9 percent voted for John McCain, 3.6 percent voted for Ralph Nader and 1.9 percent voted for Bob Barr. Carroll noted that the straw poll results closely tracked the actual vote in local precincts.

In addition to voting in the straw poll, students who visit the PSU Votes site can participate in a survey that inquires about what they think about the electoral process, what political activities they participate in, and how much trust and confidence they have in the government.

In both the 2004 and 2008 surveys, participants listed television news, in-person discussions with friends or family members, Web news and print media news as the top sources from which they obtain political information. Part of the interest in the 2012 survey is to compare student expectations and behaviors regarding political information through time.

The straw poll and survey results for the 2012 presidential race will be announced shortly after the election, Carroll said. For more information, or to participate in the poll and/or survey, visit


(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 01, 2012