Outside the office of The Daily Princetonian a crowd had separated into small, animated groups waiting hungrily for the bulletin of the returns, which were announced every few minutes. Between announcements each group relapsed into the discussion which had been going on for days. The test of each side’s arguments was over but each continued to defend its candidate while waiting for the final verdict of the ballot. Wild stories like “Hughes just got thirty in succession” intensified the atmosphere, already overcharged with partisan feeling, until the official report told how the last fifty votes had been split about equally.

At the close of the campaign the managers of both sides predicted victory by a small margin but to the close followers of the returns it was evident that the Administration was slowly but surely falling behind. Each succeeding report showed a small gain for Mr. Hughes, and the Republicans eagerly crowded about the bulletin board when the Editor-in-Chief himself came out to chalk up the final result. With a solemnity befitting the gravity of the occasion, the Editor slowly marked on the slate:



Republican Majority…….140

The victors danced up and down for joy, shook hands with each other, and rushed away to spread the news that Princeton had gone for Hughes, while the Democrats consoled themselves with the thought that it was only a straw vote anyway and that they would have their laugh in November.

For a week the college had been expending most of its excess energies on politics. A Republican Club was formed with several officers, and a campaign committee to distribute literature, talk up Hughes and get the vote out. This was followed at once by a Woodrow Wilson League. Rallies ere held by both parties and prominent men secured to speak at them, while pre-rades marched around the campus whooping it up for “Woodrow Wilson, a jolly set of men,” or for “Charles E. Hughes,” etc., as the case might be.

President Wilson’s defeat in the straw vote did not come as a surprise, because last spring before the nominations when a similar vote was held the Republican ballots were in the majority. However, at that time Mr. Wilson got more votes than any other candidate, because the Republicans split between Roosevelt, Hughes and Root.

The fact that President Wilson was formerly President of the University had very little to do with determining the way a man cast his vote. There are no undergraduates now in Princeton who were here when Mr. Wilson was President, so he is not known personally to the students any better than is Mr. Hughes.

Every class returned a majority for Hughes with the exception of the Juniors, who went slightly in Wilson’s favor. There are 346 students who will be eligible to vote at the regular election in November. Of those so qualified, the straw vote showed 191 Republicans and 155 Democrats.

This was originally published in the October 25, 1916 issue of PAW.