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>  News Releases >   2007 >   September

Student voters get focused

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 09/20/07 • Genevieve Haas • (603) 646-3661

Dartmouth professor leads student focus group to grade candidates
Debates at Dartmouth
Dartmouth hosts a Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate on Wednesday evening, Sept. 26, 2007, 9-11pm

Among the educational opportunities available to students in connection with the Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate that Dartmouth College will host on Sept. 26 is a student focus group on what really matters to student voters when picking a candidate. Led by Ronald Shaiko, Senior Fellow and Associate Director of the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, the focus group will include 12 to 16 Dartmouth students who are registered New Hampshire voters and who are undecided about whom to vote for in the New Hampshire Primary. Participants were selected from the pool of students who expressed interest in attending the Democratic presidential debate. 

From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 26, Shaiko will convene the students in the focus group at the Hanover Inn where each student will be asked to place him or herself on an axis from strongly Democratic to Independent to strongly Republican. Each student will then be asked to place him or herself on an axis from strongly liberal to strongly conservative. Shaiko will compare these results with the National Freshman Survey conducted by UCLA. The group will discuss how they developed their political views, their experience of presidential politics in their lifetimes, and their expectation for the office - and officeholder - of the presidency.

With Shaiko's help, each student will develop a "score card" for selecting a candidate for President by having students list and rank candidate characteristics important to them. The group will then review the current slate of Democratic candidates and attempt a pre-debate scoring of each.

The focus group will break at 4 p.m. Students who plan to, or are considering voting in the Democratic New Hampshire Primary, will be asked reconvene at the Hanover Inn at 8:45 p.m. to watch the debate together. Following the debate at 11:15 p.m., Shaiko will lead a 15-20 minute discussion of the candidates with students, reapplying their score cards to the candidates post-debate.

Media Access

With prior permission, members of the media may sit in on the focus group and/or interview students after the 4 p.m. break and after the post-debate discussion. Students and Ronald Shaiko may also be available for phone interviews and photos during those times. To reserve an interview or a space in the focus group venue, please contact Genevieve Haas.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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