Election results stun pollsters and population

Well over 300 Sonoma State students marched in protest Wednesday, joining thousands of Americans throughout the United States who are angry and disappointed at the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States.

Junior communications major Jenna Valle-Riestra attended the protest with friends and fellow student leaders.

“It enabled a platform for people to feel heard, united, and supported, in an environment that was peaceful and safe,” said Valle-Riestra. “I went because sitting in my room I felt helpless and scared and alone, but being a part of it I felt empowered and supported. I think it was especially important for those demographics that our president-elect has openly degraded and oppressed, because it showed us that we have allies.”

According to the votes tabulated by the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters, only 22 percent of voters in Sonoma County voted for Donald Trump. About seven out of every 10 voters in the county cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton.

However, as the election results were tallied, the electoral map turned increasingly red. Trump won swing states Florida and Ohio as well as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which Clinton was expected to win along with Michigan, which is still too close to call, but Trump has the lead in the current electoral vote count. As of press time, Michigan and New Hampshire are too close to call. Trump won at least 290 electoral votes, which is 20 more electoral votes than necessary to win the presidency. 

The Associated Press reports that Hillary Clinton is leading in the national popular vote by more than 600,000 votes.  But hundreds of thousands of votes, including some 58,000 in Sonoma County, still are left to be tallied.

Among Sonoma State students who completed a survey in the days leading up to the election, three-quarters of them reported that they had a very unfavorable view of Trump. Of the nearly 300 respondents, the percentage of students who have a favorable view of Hillary Clinton was almost equal to the number of students who have an unfavorable view of her.

This survey and national polls predicted a very different result to this election.

Political science professor and professional pollster Richard Hertz offered his expertise as to how the polls were so off.

“I think this was a surprise only in that the long shot scenario where Trump won narrow, but key victories in important states, even as he will likely lose the popular vote actually occurred. The poll results were mixed. The national polls showing Clinton with a small lead in the popular vote were pretty accurate,” Hertz said. “Maybe more of the ‘surprise’ came from how the polls were interpreted by analysts during the election season and the high degree of certainty that many forecasters gave Clinton for winning the election, sometimes up to 99 percent. Nothing is that certain in American Politics.”

At the election night viewing party hosted by Professor Hertz’s POLS 199 class and the Sonoma State Star, students of all political ideologies gathered to watch the election results. Cheers of equal volume rang out each time CNN called a state for either of the candidates. Both Clinton supporters and Trump supporters felt comfortable enough to voice their support for their candidate.

Within 24 hours of Trump being declared the winner of the presidential election, Sonoma State students organized a protest to speak out against the rhetoric of Trump’s campaign. The protest was shared with students through a Facebook event page. More than 400 students indicated their interest in the event, and over 300 attended. The protest took place on Wednesday evening. Participants met at the Student Center and then marched around campus together. Protesters carried signs and posters and shouted their feelings about the 45th president of the United States.

On Wednesday night, Sonoma State students were joined by residents of Rohnert Park and othersin a peaceful protest that involved walking around campus for two hours chanting.

“I am so proud of Sonoma State for coming together and raising our voice in a manner that was peaceful, positive, and created a culture of inclusivity,” said Valle-Riestra. “The protest was huge. I could never see the front or back of the march because it just kept going.”