Which midterm issues do Stanford students care about the most?

Nov. 3, 2022, 6:43 p.m.

With only a couple of weeks left until the midterm election and many key issues on the ballot, 54 Stanford students were polled to see what issues like abortion/women’s rights, the economy and threats to democracy, they found most pressing in this election cycle.

With midterm elections on the horizon, The Daily polled Stanford students and found that abortion and women’s rights are top of mind, with climate change and threats to democracy coming as a close second and third, respectively.

The poll sampled 54 undergraduate and graduate students, who were asked to choose one important issue from a list of options most Americans are concerned with according to recent data from Axios.

For the students polled, abortion and women’s rights ranks more highly as an issue than for Americans at large. According to data from Axios that was gathered by ranking Google searches in districts across the US, the economy, specifically jobs and taxes, is one of the most pressing issues for Americans in the upcoming election. Abortion is a medium interest issue, the data said.

Student participants in this poll were either randomly selected, chose to respond to the poll on the Daily’s Instagram or had the poll shared with them through friends and classmates.

The results are not necessarily representative of the student population and certain groups of students — including the class of 2023, 2024 and 2025 — and graduate students were underrepresented in the results.

Results of the poll indicated that participants strongly believed abortion and women’s rights to be the most pressing issue, with 41.5% of students selecting this option. Many students who selected this option echoed sentiments related to enshrining reproductive rights and protections, especially after the fall of Roe v. Wade.

Aileen Rubio ’26 said she selected the issue as most pressing because it is important to her that abortion is accessible and remains a choice people can make in case something happened.

“I feel very fortunate that I live in California, where it seems like there won’t be a huge ban on abortions anytime soon. But I would like to keep it that way,” she said, “so I want to elect politicians and candidates who plan to keep abortion for people who have vaginas.”

The second most pressing issue for Stanford students was climate change, with 11.3% of students selecting this option. One student who responded to the poll and did not include their name, wrote “this issue affects us ALL, it should not be politicized.”

Ava Acevedo ’26, who also selected climate change said she chose the issue because of its timeliness. 

“We’ve seen a lot of the effects especially disproportionately in communities of color, and communities of people who are financially disadvantaged, and the effects are only getting worse,” Acevedo said.

She said it is important to elect politicians who support legislation “that hold[s] big corporations accountable.”

Following abortion/ women’s rights and climate change, the next most highly selected options were threats to democracy, with 9.4% of students picking it; general economic issues, with 7.5% of students selecting it; and a four-way tie between inflation, healthcare, gun control and voting rights tied with 5.7%.

The Daily split options relating to the economy into separate issues focusing on wage, jobs, inflation and general economic issues because of the broadness of the topic. If the economy had been a single issue, it would have been the second most pressing issue.

Bryce Murray M.A. ’23 selected general economic issues but also said leadership was important to him. “I picked the economy as being one of the number one issues for me, but I think that I had that tied with just wanting someone as a competent leader,” Murray said.

Mehmet Tascioglu ’26 picked inflation, due to the stress it is causing Americans “in their daily lives trying to figure out if they’re going to be able to make ends meet with the resources they have.”

Judy N. Liu is a freshman from Fountain Valley, California. She enjoys embroidery, listening to music, and reading as much Agatha Christie and John Steinbeck as she possibly can.

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