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Saint Leo University fails in its values with new political poll

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Saint Leo University promotes itself as having integrity, community, excellence, respect and personal stewardship. Additionally when you go to their website the first thing one will see in big letters is "Explore Further" and "Expand Minds". However when it comes to its political polling they fail in the integrity, community and excellence categories and well as exploring further or expanding anyone's mind. The university released the results of its political polling on December 12, 2013, however chose to exclude certain candidates - continuing the myth there are only two political parties for voters to chose. Libertarians in Florida are not putting up with it and will be coming out in force today and tomorrow attacking the university for excluding their strongest candidate for governor.

Interestingly, the results of their poll clearly show the need to include third party candidates such as Libertarian Party of Florida candidate Adrian Wyllie who is running to be Florida's next governor. Question 55 posed the question "If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Rick Scott the Republican or Charlie Crist the Democrat, for whom would you vote?" The result of that question had 20% of the respondents replying "Don't know / unsure". That result of 20%, as well as other exclusionary questions, could have meant the respondents were considering "someone else" which was not an option in their poll.

This is no different than the mainstream media excluding candidates on a regular basis. For instance in the 2012 presidential election, Floridians had the choice of 12 candidates, yet over 95% of voters had only heard of two candidates, Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama. This is a failing of journalism to inform the general public, which is supposed to be based on the principles of truth, accuracy and factual knowledge. Yet, the general media has chosen to set aside those principles as have many of the polling agencies and now universities in their polling.

It is a falsehood when a news reporter, a newspaper or an organization conducting a poll says to the effect, "Barack Obama will face Mitt Romney in the election in November, 2014". It excludes and marginalizes any other candidates no matter how serious the other candidates are. It sets in the public's mind these are the two candidates you have to chose and if you heard of any other candidates, then they are not worthy of our time to cover. And the stated reason from reporters and news organizations, from my investigations, is one of two reasons, 1) they aren't interesting enough or 2) they are not popular enough for us to cover. Yet it is the media that makes them popular or not, it is not so much the candidate. The general consensus in the 2012 presidential election was that Mitt Romney was basically a "stiff robot" and was about as interesting as dry toast, yet the general media flocked to him. The Libertarian Party puts up perhaps the most interesting candidate in the race, Gary Johnson, yet was essentially ignored. Johnson was a two term governor, mountain climber, self-made multi-millionaire, triathlete, reportedly smoked pot while in the governor's mansion and was working to make marijuana legal in the State of New Mexico. He clearly has a compelling and interesting story, yet reporters ignored and thereby the voters knew little, if anything, of him. In the popular iSideWith online match-up program during the 2012 campaign, it was a close race between Johnson and Obama, leaving Romney far behind. iSideWith enabled users to answer questions of policy while rating their importance, then matched the user up with presidential candidates (see video). The site ignored all the media bias and polling, focusing only on the issues and Johnson was a clear contender, however due to the media and polling bias, Johnson received only 1% of the vote.

Apparently universities in Florida are content with continuing the falsehood there is only a Democratic and a Republican in political races and purposefully exclude Libertarian and other political party candidates, no matter how legitimate those candidates may be. After all, it was not long ago polling done at the University of North Florida did the same, so we can expect the same. However the Libertarian Party of Florida will not take such exclusion lying down anymore and are now organized to the level to dismantle the stranglehold the two party system has on Florida voters. It also is causing many to wonder what kind of education they are getting at Saint Leo and other universities when they only promote two potential candidates.

The Libertarian Party of Florida and the Wyllie campaign is encouraging their supporters as well as all those who are tired of the bias in the media and polling to reach out to the polling at the university and have their voice heard by contacting Drew Gold, Executive Director of St. Leo University Polling Institute through either his email of andrew.gold@saintleo.edu or their telephone number of 800-334-5532 and also to reach out via social media with their Twitter handle of @saintleopolls and their Facebook page.

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