As students go to vote, polls show Fisher lead

by Beacon Staff • April 8, 2009

As Student Government Association ballots close at midnight on April 7, a divisive and attention-drawing SGA campaign came to a close, with an online iBeacon/i poll showing a solid lead for executive president incumbent Scott Fisher, and a survey of the candidates' Facebook support groups also shows Fisher with a lead, albeit a smaller one.

At press time, a poll on the Beacon Web site showed that 69 percent of respondents said they preferred Fisher, and 31 percent said they intended to vote for challenger Nick Vargas. Of 58 votes, 40 said they would cast their ballot for Fisher and 18 would be giving their support to Vargas, the Performing Arts senator.

Vargas said he didn't think the poll was an accurate representation of student voters.

"I haven't even heard that there was a poll up. I think that there was a lack of marketing," he said. "So I don't take that [result] into account at all."

Fisher had a more open view of the poll results.

"Well, you know, I'm very proud of what we've accomplished this year," he said. "It all depends on who actually turns out to vote, but [the support] is overwhelming."

Plenty of the discussion during this campaign has centered around the SGA's use of Facebook, and both candidates established a campaign presence on the site. Fisher's Facebook group garnered 277 members, 34 more than Vargas' 243 supporters.

As Emerson students await official results of the vote, candidates, including executive president hopefuls Fisher and Nick Vargas, will have a break from the back and forth of Speech Night, a televised Emerson Channel debate, and the constant volley of Facebook messages which have bombarded the student body.

Official results are set to be viewed by Elections Commissioner Danielle Iacovelli, Chief Justice Jeff Foster, and SGA Advisor Sharon Duffy, at 8 a.m. Thursday, Iacovelli said in a phone interview.

These results followed a live debate on the Emerson Channel show iSpeechless/i on Saturday, April 4. The debate was taped in a closed studio as a result of the events of SGA Speech Night, according to e-mail messages from James Chapman, iSpeechless/i senior producer and Emerson Channel programming manager.

Chapman said he felt a large number of noisy supporters or detractors might interfere with the debate, which was a first-time endeavor for both the producers and candidates.

"It wasn't so much that we were trying to avoid anything that happened at Speech Night specifically, but if we had anything like the environment [of] speech night, it would be much harder for the candidates to focus on their platforms and specific issues, and it would be much harder for the crew.in terms of logistics," said Chapman, a junior studio television production major.

Fisher again touted his work on SGA issues including gender-neutral housing, medical amnesty, and tuition affordability, while Vargas challenged what he called Fisher's lack of communication with the SGA and stressed his own involvement with student organizations. The two candidates responded to taped questions from Emerson students on topics ranging from their individual qualifications to the role of the SGA.

On the final day of voting, Emerson students had several opinions to offer on the executive president race.

"The only position I voted for was president, and I voted for Scott Fisher, because he seems to be gaining momentum, and I don't want to interrupt that," said Charis Talcott, a freshman writing, literature, and publishing major.

Sophomore Kaitrin Kinnare opted for Vargas.

"He just seemed to have some newer ideas. I figured the school could use some fresh ideas," Kinnare, a film production major, said. "I've seen more support for Nick Vargas, so I think he has a pretty good shot."