Survey reveals a heavily Democratic county

A Florida A&M University professor and his students discussed the results of their survey, in which its main focus was the 2004 presidential election Tuesday at the Florida Press Center.

Journalism professor Michael Abrams and his research methods class conducted a phone survey in Leon County during the week of Oct. 18-22.

“I am very confident that we did a sound poll,” said Karen Porter, 31, a first-year graduate journalism student from Mattapoisett, Mass. “We followed the rules of good polling.”

Abrams, agreed.

“[I and my graduate classes have] conducted at least 20 polls since I’ve been here…and each one has given us interesting results. One of the interesting things is the lack of black voters for Bush and the opposition to the war [in Iraq],” Abrams said about the 102 blacks asked and the 85 who said no.

Porter, Summer Hall and Andre Shannon, three of the Abrams’ students, spoke at Tuesday’s conference;the number Democrats in Leon County surprised them all.

Almost 62 percent of those surveyed said they were Democrats, and 56 percent said they will vote for John Kerry.

The large number of Democrats was no shock to Abrams. He attributed the large number to the college students in Tallahassee.

“When you’re young, you see the world differently,” Abrams said. “[Young people] aren’t as jaded yet. As people grow older, they grow more conservative.”

Although there were no cross tabulations involving age and Democrats, more than likely, there were many older Democrats.

Most of the people polled, 61.7 percent of who were Democrats, 22.1 percent were between 40 and 50 years of age and 21.9 percent were 61 or older.

“I’ve been [in Tallahassee] for four years,” said Shannon, 23, a first-year graduate journalism student from Miami. “Other than the students, I thought Leon County was Republican.”

While many people took part in the survey, Porter was dismayed by the people who refused.

“Get interested in one small aspect of [politics],” Porter said. “If you’re a tree hugger, get involved with a group that has something to do with the environment.”

Abrams said that is the purpose of the survey. “Students should be involved in learning how to measure what goes on in society and not have to rely on other people to tell them,” he said.

With only 27.3 percent of the polled saying they were voting for President Bush, Kerry is leading by a 2-1 margin.

If Kerry wins by that margin, it will be the largest victory for a Democratic candidate since Harry Truman beat Strom Thurmond and Thomas Dewey in 1948.

But the data recorded cannot be treated as a true indicator of the election’s outcome.

Through the survey had just a 5 percent margin of error, only half of the county’s residents were surveyed.

Contact Brandon D. Oliver at