This year’s SU elections saw an increased amount of people voting but only a small percentage of the student population took part. Looking at turnout, satisfaction, and predictions, we analysed the numbers behind this year’s results.
Over 1,500 people voted in this year’s elections meaning, roughly, only 16% of the total student population at the university took part. Due to regulations over who’s eligible to vote — part-time students can’t — this figure may be slightly higher.
Not all of these will have been in support of the candidates as in some categories as many as 144 votes were cast for the option to re-open nominations (RON). So, we do not know what percentage of people actually voted for the people running.
This year’s turnout is an increase over the 2009 figure (13%) and puts Lincoln above the national average for turnout (13.8%) as reported by the NUS. However, it is still lower than many universities, notably Sheffield, who had a 25% response rate in 2009.
The last two years are lower than the 18.8% turnout in 2008.
Breakdown by position
The increased turnout is reflected in the number of votes for each category. The overall increase in votes was 23% and this can be seen in the full time positions, with 31% more votes being cast for the role of president, 27% for the vice-president for academic affairs, and 28% for the vice-president for welfare.
The most notable rise is for the now-combined sports and societies role. Last year the mean votes cast for the two positions was 852, while this year saw a 60% rise in votes for the vice-president for activities position, at 1367 — the most votes for a single position.
The paid roles were closely contested with vice-president for activities split 42%/58% between Emily Gough and Kayleigh Taylor. Vice-president for academic affairs was similarly split 59% / 41% in Dan Derricott’s favour.
Social networking sites were more important than in previous years, with each candidate creating a Facebook group to support their campaign.
The Linc monitored the number of people who joined the groups as a way of checking popularity and engagement with the campaigns, and used them to predict who would win each role.
All of these predictions were correct, with the successful candidates having the most members of their groups. The most popular person was Andreas Zacharia, who finished the elections period with 552 people having joined his group, just beating Chris Charnley in the last week of the campaign (548).
Although Charnley claimed on his Facebook page that he “won with a landslide vote” he only received 58% of the votes cast for president. Whilst 783 people did vote for him this is much less than 10% of the total student population.
A poll on The Linc’s website during the live SU elections simulcast asked “Are you happy with the elections results this year?” Out of over 350 respondents, only 36% of people answered “yes”. Comments from readers on the night included one from “E.C”, which said: “Happy with everything except president.”
The Facebook tracking also allowed for estimating percentages for each position. The differences in the group sizes were quite large and so for president it looked like Charnley would have 70% of the votes for his position.
The estimated results for vice-president for academic affairs was much closer with only a 2% difference in the predictions, 59% to 41%, compared to the final results.There has been little change in terms of competition between candidates throughout the two-week campaign period.
The majority of the people joining did so at the start making these elections look more like a contest of existing popularity.Tweet