Every year, when the circus of undergraduate student government elections begins, the Daily Bruin publishes endorsements of candidates the Editorial Board sees as most fit to lead.

The board keeps writing each year, with the hope that its carefully considered evaluations of candidate platforms and experience will influence voters to cast well-educated ballots.

Of course, the effectiveness of Daily Bruin editorials is constantly in question. Does anyone even read the paper?

While it is impossible to prove that the Editorial Board’s endorsements have any affect on election results, it is possible to show that some of the time – even most of the time – The Bruin’s opinions on who should take office align with the students’ votes.

So how likely is it that a candidate endorsed by the Daily Bruin will win a contested seat?

Since 1986, 26 percent of endorsed candidates won a coveted spot at the Undergraduate Students Association Council table.

But the board isn’t just good at predicting positive outcomes for those in the running for a USAC office. Forty-six percent of those not endorsed lost in their respective elections.

Still, voters don’t always side with the paper. Fourteen percent of endorsed candidates lost and 16 percent of non-endorsed candidates won.

The Bruin archives didn’t turn up endorsements for 2009 or 1992.

In 2009, the Editorial Board didn’t run an endorsement package. Although the board didn’t publish an explanation for the missing pieces, it is worth noting that 2009 was the year that the PLEDGE referendum – a fee that helps fund student media, among other student organizations – was up for a vote on the USAC election ballot.

The Bruin archives for spring 1992 were missing.

The board was especially in line with voters when it came to endorsing external vice presidents and financial supports commissioners. About 71 percent of endorsed EVP and FSC candidates won their contested seat.

Whether the Editorial Board’s endorsements influence voters or not, The Bruin will likely continue to publish election packages every year to keep voters informed about candidates.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of the board’s arguments is up to the voters.


About the data

All of the endorsement data was manually gathered from Daily Bruin archives. The results data came from the USAC historical roster.

There were a few title changes in the 30 year span this data covers. We used the most recent title for all data points in the interactive’s dataset.

All data can be found on a public Google Spreadsheet.

Interactive graphic by Tim Guo, Daily Bruin developer. Story by Katie Shepherd, Daily Bruin.