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Bentley Study Analyzes e-Campaign for 2004 Presidential Elections and Clark Meetups
January 11, 2004
WALTHAM, Mass.- A second set of results from the Bentley College study, "The e-Campaign for Presidential Election 2004," provides insight into who makes up Wesley Clark's presidential campaign grassroots supporters and what draws them to the Meetup phenomenon. The study, conducted by Professor of Government Christine B. Williams with support from Jason Davis of the Clark volunteer network, surveyed 108 participants from 22 states plus the District of Columbia who attended the December 2003 Meetup. A third nationwide survey of all presidential candidates' campaign Meetups is anticipated for February.
"This study is the first to document both who these people are, and how they are thinking about and using Meetup to mobilize a presidential candidate's campaign from the grassroots," says Williams.
The Bentley study's findings show some similarities between Clark and Dean Meetup attendees:
The study also finds some differences between Clark and Dean Meetup attendees:
Jason Davis notes, "We used the Draft Clark websites to drive attendance at Meetups before the campaign formally began. Now we have successfully transferred that to the campaign. This demonstrates that Meetups can be used both by grassroots networks and campaign staff, and that the two can work together."
A 33 year-old male in the service sector who attended the Somerville, MA venue "wanted to meet other supporters, find out about local campaign efforts, and check out the mood and tone of the campaign." A 64 year-old female who has been temporarily laid off attended the Honolulu, HI Meetup "to learn more about Clark and to find out what I can do besides send money I cannot afford to give to help get him elected."
A 67 year-old female from Costa Mesa, CA comments, "I love the concept of making the 'impersonal' Internet more personal and connective. For political purposes it is a great way to bring in new people we've never met." A 43 year-old male from Sioux Falls, SD says, "I like that I could make contact with other like minded people and having the opportunity to brainstorm ideas with them."
Does Meetup have a future?
"Candidates Clark and Dean have embraced the Internet and are making Meetup an important and effective campaign tool in their 2004 presidential bids," notes Williams. "Their results could have as much impact on the conduct of future elections as John F. Kennedy's honing of television for use as a campaign tool in 1960."
This arena is not new to Williams. The October 2003 study analyzed Dean Meetups. She also coauthored the Bentley research study, "The 2000 e-Campaign for Senate." Published in the Fall 2002 issue of the Journal of Political Marketing, the study examined the marriage of politics and marketing to computer technology.
BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu.
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