The Political Identity of the Holderness Community

In our rural location in central New Hampshire, it feels easy to forget what the outside world looks like, and often what our internal world is really made of. In today’s political climate, with calls for impeachment raining down from members of the legislature, advertisements and the like, it’s important to see what exactly the community here at Holderness is made of.


In a September 2019 anonymous survey sent out to the student and faculty of Holderness School, the identity of our community begins to articulate itself. The survey, which consisted of 10 questions observing age and location demographics as well as overall political associations, received 80 responses split somewhat evenly among every grade level and the faculty. 


Roughly 86% of responders were residents of the US and its territories. Of this group, issues such as gender equality and racial equality were issues important to 87% of responders. Freedom of the press and religion gathered 81% of respondents selecting it as an issue they support. Following closely behind that at 68% believe the separation of church and state is important to their political beliefs. This is trailed by free healthcare subsidized by taxes at 51% support. Every other issue presented, which ranged from association with economic right or left, libertarian values, anarchistic values, and socialist values had 41% or less support among our domestic population.


The results from the remaining 14% of our community, the international respondents and members of US territories, reflect a similar pattern of data trends for the “big issues” such as gender and racial equality, and freedom of the press and religion attaining similar levels of support. Notable differences in data trends are with issues such as internationalism (the idea of cooperation between nations) and separation of church and state. 55% of our international community selected internationalism as an issue they support, while only 27% of our domestic residents selected it as an issue of importance. Additionally, only 36% of international students saw the separation of church and state as core to their political beliefs, compared to nearly twice that level of response from our domestic population. 


The survey didn’t only look at particular issues, it also looked at people’s associations with political parties. Of the community as a whole, 38% of respondents identified with the Democratic Party or were Democratic-leaning, while 36% identified as independent from any US political party. 16% of the overall responders associated with the Republican Party and the remaining 10% were distributed among other parties. 


An area of focus of the survey was the section of how the respondents viewed the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump (see chart below). 50% of those who had no prior knowledge of the impeachment inquiry responded that they believed that the impeachment was either somewhat or greatly justified to them based on the context provided by the question. The remaining 50% of respondents who were unaware of such events before taking the survey responded that they believed it was neither justified nor unjustified and barely justified, resulting in a 37.5% to 12.5% collection respectively. 



Although the issue of impeachment can be polarizing, this survey has revealed that Holderness is politically diverse. Political thinking at Holderness spans a range of views.  While we may have different opinions around various issues, we are also deeply connected and have much more in common with each other regardless of political ideology.