The leaders of Brown's partisan organizations were not shocked by the results of a Herald poll released last week showing that the University is a predominantly Democratic campus.
According to the poll, which asked students what political party they were most likely to identify with, 62.8 percent of students consider themselves Democrats, while only 5 percent consider themselves Republicans. Students selecting the "Independent and Other" option comprise 20.3 percent of undergraduates, and 4.8 percent consider themselves Greens.
It is common knowledge that Brown attracts more liberal-leaning students, said Craig Auster '08, vice president of the Brown Democrats. "Brown enrolls many students from states like New York, Massachusetts and California, which tend to be more liberal," Auster said.
President of the Brown Greens Marc Carrel '07 saw the poll in a different light. "What's interesting about the poll is the number of students who chose 'Independent or Other,'" he said. "We believe people who chose that group are more to the left but might not know enough about the Green Party," he added.
Carrel added that he sees hope for increasing enrollment in the Brown Greens. "The values of the Green Party are those of the majority at Brown," he said.
President of the College Republicans Evan Pettyjohn '06 was somewhat surprised by the poll results. "I thought the numbers were a little low," he said. "I would estimate (on-campus Republicans actually number) somewhere between 10 to 15 percent."
Regardless of the actual figure, Pettyjohn believes a lack of political diversity detracts from political debate on campus. "People define their beliefs better when encountering opposition," he said. "Many Brown students don't look for opposition when it comes to political beliefs or just won't encounter opposition at Brown," he added.
Pettyjohn said he would like to see more conservative professors brought to Brown to increase the diversity of ideas represented in political discourse. Pettyjohn sees the current state of academia as an obstacle to more conservatives becoming professors, as "academia tends to appeal to liberals while business attracts more conservatives."
The University's liberal-leaning political makeup is not unique. A November poll by the Stanford Daily reported that 58 percent of Stanford University students consider themselves liberal, while only 7.8 percent consider themselves conservative.
A poll taken on Election Day 2004 by the Daily Pennsylvanian, the student newspaper at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that 68 percent of Penn's student body voted for Sen. John Kerry, D.-Mass., while 19 percent voted for President George W. Bush.