The Charger Blog

Political Science Majors Conduct Exit Polling on Election Day

As part of their "Elections and the Public Will" service-learning course, students interacted with voters at precincts throughout West Haven.

November 19, 2018

By Dave Cranshaw, Office of Marketing & Communications

Students prepare to conduct exit polling
Students prepare to conduct exit polling as part of their "Elections and the Public Will" service-learning course.

One day, Kassie Defala ’19 would like to run for office. She took an important step in understanding the will of the voters by leading a class project to conduct exit polling at West Haven voting precincts on Election Day.

"I had a pretty extensive knowledge about how the political processes of local elections worked as I have been volunteering for various campaigns for over a year," she says. "But it was interesting for me to learn more about the specific political processes of West Haven and their local politics."

"A reach goal I have is to set myself up to run for president someday."Kassie Defala ’19

She concedes that the work of developing and conducting the poll was challenging, but equally fulfilling.

"I wasn't too familiar with the process of a social survey like this," said Defala, a political science and legal studies double major. "I must admit that it was very hard at first and I struggled a lot, specifically when analyzing the statistics in similar studies to our own. While I am definitely still learning, I think this experience helped me grow a lot."

Kayla Paragian ’21, another member of the class, aspires to be a political consultant one day.

"This experience taught me that communicating well with people is the key to getting them willing enough to participate in the survey," she says.

"Creating and executing an exit poll is a significant and useful skill that I will be able to use in my future career."Kayla Paragian ’21

Christian Zapata ’21 said it was rewarding to put into practice what he learned in the classroom. "I knew what to avoid to prevent biased results," he said. "The entire experience keeps you on your feet because you really want it to be as accurate as possible.

"Seeing and talking to people who are excited to vote, you tend to pick up some of their excitement," continues Zapata. "Our exit poll will provide invaluable insight into the political process. This input will help guide decisions made by the local government."

For Defala, the team leader, her next step will be attending law school. After that? Maybe her name will be on a ballot.

"A reach goal I have is to set myself up to run for president someday," she says.