Dr. Jay Goodliffe, Department of Political Science
Evaluation of how well the academic objectives of the proposal were met
Using funding from the Mentoring Environment Grant, we produced a full book manuscript that is currently under review at different university presses (“Message, Messenger, and Medium: Understanding the 2008 Presidential Donor Surge”). The book consists of 10 chapters and is over 500 manuscript pages.
In addition, we presented papers at the 2011 American Political Science Association meetings and 2011 and 2012 Midwest Political Science Association Meetings. These presented papers were developed into book chapters, though we have some work that will be developed as stand-alone articles. We will present more work from this project at the 2013 Midwest Political Science Asssociation meetings, and have proposed another paper for the 2013 American Political Science Association meetings. As discussed below, two of the students we mentored presented at the 2012 Midwest Political Science Association meetings as well. We expect to build on their work, and develop additional manuscripts co-authored with those students.
One student also presented his work at the 2012 FHSS Fulton Conference and won 2nd place for his poster.
Evaluation of the mentoring environment
The students we mentored compiled materials for literature reviews for each book chapter, ran preliminary analyses using existing data, and helped with editing the chapters. We encouraged students to come up with their own ideas of how they would analyze the data. We incorporated and further developed a few of those ideas for the book manuscripts. Other ideas we encourage the students to develop and present in a bi-weekly research seminar and in to posters for internal and external conferences. We would provide frequent feedback for the students about how to improve their work, and helped them to work independently.
During the school year, we met weekly with our students. During the summer, we met at least twice weekly, and sometimes daily, as we were finishing up the book manuscript.
We worked with the Data Mining Lab in the Computer Science Department on record linkage which has allowed our more advanced research assistants to develop programming and computer skills (and the computer science students to learn more about politics).
Overall, we established a professional environment wherein our students functioned as quasi-professional academics with the safety of review and verification for their work. Thus we assisted the students in pushing beyond the normal academic limits and helped them to experience new areas of research and methods that they may pursue independently in the future. Many of these students have gone on or plan to go to graduate school (political science, public policy, law). The experience also helped other student obtain employment after graduating.
List of students who participated and what academic deliverables they have produced or it is anticipated they will produce:
- Robert Richards
- Starting in summer 2011, assisted in all areas of the project, including data analysis, data management, record linkage, editing, and compiling materials for conference presentations and book manuscript. Presented posters at the 2012 Fulton Conference and 2012 Midwest Political Science Association. Continues to assist in all areas and will help us produce articles, one of which he will co-author.
- Calvin Roberts
- Starting in summer 2011, assisted in all areas of the project, including data analysis, data management, record linkage, editing, and compiling materials for conference presentations and book manuscript. Presented poster at the 2012 Midwest Political Science Association.
- John Holbein, Jesse Keyser, Philip Manwaring
- Until their graduations in 2011, these students assisted in all areas of the project, including data analysis, data management, editing, and compiling materials for conference presentations and book manuscript.
- Ethan Busby
- Started in summer 2011 with conducting literature reviews and editing conference papers. Moved into data analysis and produced graphics for one of the chapters.
- Zachary Barrus
- Starting in 2012, conducted data analysis and data management.
- Rebecca Eaton, Jeff Edwards, Maren Gardiner, Eric Hoyt, Haley McCormick, Grady Nye, Courtney Waters
- Throughout 2011, these students conducted literature reviews, summarized research, edited conference papers and book chapters. Helped set up interviews with political elites.
- Troy Anderson, Olivia Crellin, Katie Van Eaton Kleinert
- Starting in 2012, these students conducted literature reviews, summarized research, edited conference papers and book chapters. Helped set up interviews with political elites. Moved into data compilation, gathering information on SuperPACs in the 2012 election cycle.
- Stacy Steinhorst
- Working in the Data Mining Lab in computer science, wrote computer programs to link records probabilistically.
Description of the results/findings of the project
As mentioned above, we have made three conference presentations, produced a book manuscript that is under review, and continue to work on other conference presentations and manuscripts to be submitted to journals.
Each chapter of the manuscript has interesting findings. Here are some of those findings concerning donors to the 2008 presidential candidates:
Republican donors fit the profile found by previous studies: They are largely affluent, white, middle aged or older, better educated, more strongly partisan and more predictably ideological. In contrast, Democratic donors, especially Obama donors, were more racially diverse, much more likely to be female, somewhat younger, and much more likely to use the Internet as a means to engage in politics, including making of political contributions.
Compared to larger donors, smaller donors are younger and earn less money.
A majority of small donors to the Obama campaign were women. Besides donations to
women’s issues (e.g. EMILY’s List), this is the first election where women were the
majority in any category.
The motivations of many donors do not fit well into existing typologies, so we developed
our own theoretical template, emphasizing the connection to candidates.
About 1/3 of donors gave without being asked by the campaigns, which is much higher
than previous studies have found.
The Obama campaign utilized the internet more than other previous campaigns. The
2000 McCain campaign used the internet more than the 2008 McCain campaign.
Temporally, donors appear to respond to both campaign stimuli (e.g. debates) and how
well the candidate is doing in the polls.
Description of how the budget was spent
|Travel to conferences (2 students: MPSA)||$1,600|
|Supplies (books, copies, data)||$200|