When our team first began our research on this topic, we decided to appeal to local politicians for their thoughts and opinions about campaign tools and strategies. We wrote letters to Senator Hillary Clinton, who lives in nearby Chappaqua, our local Congressman, John Hall, and others. We were very pleased to hear back from New York State Senator Vincent Leibell, who granted us an interview in his local office in Brewster, New York.
We learned a great deal from Senator Leibell. We asked our Television Production Studio teacher, Mr. Galazzo to videotape this interview in the Senator's office. Once he shot the video, we took the time to edit it. You can view that video by clicking here.
also interviewed high school Social Studies teacher Mr. Anthony
Mellor to get historical perspective on political campaigns
over the years. The video with Mr. Mellor can be viewed here.
Survey (Please take this survey, located at this URL.)
team created an online
survey to find out what factors most influence peoples’
voting habits. We sent this survey out to the staff at our high school
and also asked our parents to send the survey to their friends and relatives.
Since we are not yet of voting age, and neither are our friends, we
could not ask our peers for their responses.
As of this writing, we received 408 responses. We were quite surprised by some of the results!
One of the biggest shocks came with the question, “Would you vote for a female candidate?” The majority of the people responded “yes,” but we did receive some no’s to this question. Twelve women actually said that they would not vote for a women president. As a group of girls, this stunned us. Why not?
Another question we asked was, “Would you vote for a candidate of a racial minority?” Women were more open to this concept than the men were. In addition, younger people more frequently answered in the affirmative to this question than those in older age groups. This demonstrated to us that the younger portion of the voting population is more open to racial minorities. In this election, this could be a critical factor in the outcome of the race if the youth comes out and votes. If Barak Obama wins the Democratic nomination and is on the ticket and if the youth come out to vote, he may win the election.
Overall, people who responded to our survey preferred a racial minority candidate over a woman by about one percent. Our survey only included a fairly small sampling of people, but 73 of them said that they would vote for a candidate of a racial minority but not a woman. This shows that women are not perceived as equal to men politically. Racial minorities are seen as less of a “change” than women. Statistically, this puts Hilary Clinton at a disadvantage.
We created two quizzes to help you test your knowledge of campaigns and candidates.
In the fall of 2007, a competition, 10 Questions, was announced that would allow "everyday citizens" to ask questions for the candidates and post these questions in the form of videos. The video(s) would then be uploaded to an Internet video site (ie., YouTube, Google Video, etc.) and for a period of time, people would vote on the questions that they wanted answered. This contest was fueled by the proliferation of Web 2.0 and social networking sites and the use of YouTube to broadcast formal debates.
The website 10Questions.com was developed to host these questions and to encourage interaction between the 2008 presidential candidates and the electronically knowledgeable public. By uploading short videos reflecting relevant questions, voters had the opportunity to garner a response from the candidates. The public was able to vote for the question that they felt was most relevant to the 2008 campaign. Once the public had the chance to vote for the top ten questions, the candidates posted their answers on the site and America could hear their responses. This helpful tool allows the voters to compare the candidates’ responses to the same questions.
In a typical debate (see section on debates), a few selected people are able to ask the candidates questions. And when the candidates are done responding, the public has no way to give them feedback on their responses. With 10Questions.com, the issues are raised directly by the public, and the candidates get to learn how their responses received. While this competition empowered voters, it may have been an even greater tool for the candidates, because it allowed them to take the pulse of the American public.
Our team decided to participate in this competition. We came up with five questions, which we, as young adults, wanted answered. We videotaped each other reciting our questions individually and posted the videos on our coach's YouTube site, where they were viewed, voted and commented on. These videos are included on this site as well. We chose not to link to them on YouTube because of the potentially objectionable material that students could encounter on that site.
Click here to view our video questions.
our questions did not win, but we were pleased to participate in this
historic, democratic process.
of the tools we learned about while working on this site was the social
bookmarking site, del.icio.us.
We had a common log-in so that as we found relevant sites we could share
them with the rest of the group. We learned about "tagging"
so that we could identify the particular topic that the research dealt
with. We have decided to share our del.icio.us site here, as it is a
common practice to share them with others. That is why they are called