Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date

1983

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Journalism

Abstract

Evaluating what voters are thinking and deciding how best to communicate with them are critical to a political candidate planning a campaign strategy. Until recently, a candidate relied on his own instincts and those of his advisers to evaluate what people thought about a particular issue or person and to determine the most effective way of presenting campaign messages. Political polling has changed this. Political scientist Paul Van Riper said in Handbook of Practical Politics "the rapidly increasing utilization of social science techniques to help determine political strategy is one of the most important of the recent trends in American politics." As a result, modern-day candidates are relying on polling more and more. However, as the popularity of political polling has increased, so has its cost. Sophisticated opinion research is often too expensive for candidates with limited budgets. One way a campaign with a small budget can get around this problem is to do its own polling. But such a venture can be risky because setting up a polling operation is difficult, and if not done properly, the poll will not yield accurate data. This thesis addresses this problem directly. It establishes a methodology for a statewide, in-house poll that can produce reliable, strategic data for a South Dakota political campaign. The methodology for this thesis was tailored to an actual campaign, that of the 1982 South Dakota Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Michael J. O'Connor, whose opponent was the incumbent Republican governor, William Janklow. The methodology outlined herein would be specifically applicable to any statewide campaign in South Dakota and generally applicable to campaigns in other rural states. Furthermore, many aspects of the methodology could be applied to other kinds of surveys. The development of this methodology involved many separate steps. The methodology for this thesis was tailored to an actual campaign, that of the 1982 South Dakota Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Michael J. O'Connor, whose opponent was the incumbent Republican governor, William Janklow. The methodology outlined herein would be specifically applicable to any statewide campaign in South Dakota and generally applicable to campaigns in other rural states. Furthermore, many aspects of the methodology could be applied to other kinds of surveys.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Public opinion polls
Telephone in politics
Elections -- South Dakota
South Dakota State University Theses

Format

application/pdf

Number of Pages

158

Publisher

South Dakota State University

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