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The Dartmouth
June 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Students poll NH residents on election

The Rockefeller Center and the Associated Press began the first of a series of five surveys on the upcoming 2000 elections of New Hampshire voters Sunday night following last week's town meetings.

The survey is expected to match a specific voter's view on an issue to the candidate whose stance is most similar to that view, as well as recognizing the distinctions between each candidate's position, according to Government Professor Constantine Spiliotes.

The survey questions have been constructed to determine both the voter's party affiliation as well as their stance on various issues, he said.

The survey has "a sort of branching effect" -- meaning that more specific questions will be presented depending on how one answers initial questions -- which will enable it to be used for all respondents, Spiliotes said.

Director of Rockefeller Center Linda Fowler said the College's involvement in the polling process began in 1996 when she began a survey in conjunction with WMUR television.

"This was among the more accurate of a series of surveys during 1996," Rockefeller Politics Intern Jason Rubenstein '00 said.

"[In 1996] we got the final prediction of Dole and Buchanan in a dead heat," Fowler said, "a lot of others missed that."

"I decided I very much wanted to compile New Hampshire data," Fowler said. She described the state as a "political laboratory" and cited several unusual aspects of New Hampshire politics.

"There are extremely high levels of media coverage in New Hampshire," she said, "nearly 40 percent of election coverage is about New Hampshire. There are also very high voter turnout rates here."

About 1,000 survey members will be selected randomly from a list of about 10,000 New Hampshire voters for each survey.

Rubenstein said the initial survey will be the first part of a "panel study" in which this week's respondents will be contacted again before the election in order to measure potential shifts in opinion.

The survey data will be released by the AP on Friday.

The results of the survey will be used by Government Department staff for research purposes and by the AP to determine current New Hampshire voter opinion.

Fowler and Government Professor Lynn Vavreck will also be involved in research based on the survey.

Spiliotes added that the information will be used "by the three of us to write a book or a few articles."

About 60 Dartmouth students will conduct the five surveys, which will continue through February 1.