Nov. 8, 2005
By Jessica Zibbel
Ohio University students recently conducted a survey of Ohio residents, hoping to better understand the importance of particular political issues to those living in one of the increasingly important political "battleground" states.
Students were asked to decide which political topics were most important to them as residents of Ohio and to write a series of questions surrounding those topics. Ninety questions were chosen.
"This is an outstanding opportunity for students to gain practical experience and apply concepts they study in the classroom. Writing the survey and seeing it come together is rewarding and exciting for the students," said Jerry Miller, director of the University Political Communication Certification Program. "They have to trust in each other and find a common ground because the left hand isn't always going to agree with the right."
Approximately 800 Ohio residents were randomly selected and called. Question topics included perceptions of female politicians, whether they feel their individual vote counts, the role of religion in politics, smoking in public and personality traits that political leaders should possess.
"Students must learn how to get a person interested in the first few minutes of the telephone conversation, how to talk about sensitive issues such as homosexual marriage, and how to respond in a non-biased way," Miller said.
Students then evaluated their results, drawing conclusions about the significance of the issues to their respondents' daily lives and safety concerns
"It is anticipated that this will become an annual project," Miller said. "With next fall's Ohio gubernatorial race a wide-open affair, this venture promises to gain in stature and significance. An emphasis on research is a key component to Ohio University being recognized as a national leader in education."
Student surveyors are members of the Political Communication 201 class. Surveys were conducted in the Scripps Survey Research Center on the fourth floor of the Central Classroom Building.
Jessica Zibbel is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.