About the Campaign Manager Survey:
Campaign Manager: Understanding Elections Through the Eyes of Political Professionals” is scheduled to be published in late 2015/early 2016 by Pearson Higher Education. At the core of the book are in-depth, face-to-face and telephone interviews with more than 100 campaign managers and political professionals. An online version of the survey will be fielded to a broader sample of political professionals in the Fall of 2014, with annual surveys conducted in subsequent years.
Those already interviewed for the book include both high-profile presidential campaign managers, such as Ken Mehlman, James Carville, and David Axelrod, as well as lesser known political journeymen and women. To provide a generational perspective, interviewees range from seasoned veteran managers who began their careers in the 1970’s and 1980’s, up to the most recent classes of political professionals. The sample is evenly balanced between Democrats and Republicans, and includes managers of campaigns ranging from national to state and local offices. Interviews began in July 2011.
This site is designed for (1) campaign managers who have been invited to participate in Campaign Manager Survey, and (2) those who are interested in being invited to participate. Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the survey (FAQ’s), and links to the online survey modules.
About the Book
Understanding Campaigns & Elections
Through the Eyes of Political Professionals
In modern American politics, professional campaign consultants and managers play key roles in advising and directing political campaigns at all levels. Political campaigns -- for public office or to influence public policy – are often won and lost at the margins by the side that does the best job of developing, testing, and delivering the most compelling messages possible to the correct targets. And, it is at the margin where the best political consultants excel and earn a living devising the most compelling arguments and delivering them in the most effective ways.
Campaign professionals mostly acquire their skills through on-the job-training. For example, David Plouffe, President Obama’s campaign manager in 2008, began working in campaigns at 21 with little academic training. By 40, he had worked in hundreds of campaigns and had a wide-ranging skill set that allowed him to run the most unlikely presidential campaign in history. A similar story describes Karl Rove, the architect of George W. Bush’s election in 2000 and re-election in 2004.
For this book, the authors interview approximately 100 campaign managers and political professionals using a combination of in-depth conversations and structured questionnaires. The result is a quantifiable synthesis of the current state of the art in modern political campaign management, as well as a trove of observations, anecdotes, and guidance drawn from actual campaign case studies.
Although energy, creativity, and political instinct cannot be taught, there are specific technical skills and lessons about the electorate that anyone who hopes to pursue a career in politics – or just understand our electoral system -- must be familiar with. These include knowledge of the fundamental factors that drive elections and public opinion as well familiarity with the basics of survey research, statistical analysis, media relations, video production techniques, new media, media buying, speechwriting, fundraising, accounting, and political law.
Our goal in this book is to teach students the fundamental factors that drive elections and public opinion through the eyes of campaign managers. It is not a ”how to” book, but instead will combine the insights of campaign professionals with our deep knowledge of previous campaigns and core academic knowledge. There are plenty of “campaign” books in the trade market that spin stories of particular campaigns or particular operatives. Teddy White’s “Making of the President” books are, of course, the classic in this genre. There are also textbooks (although not many) that go through the basics of American elections in a similar way.
This book will combine theory, practice, and exploration, taking the best elements of a comprehensive textbook and a great campaign book and rolling them into one. Furthermore, this book will take advantage of our unique access to the most valuable data source on how voters consume media and will augment our own insights with an extensive survey of top campaign professionals.
The principal authors of the survey and book are Will Feltus, Ken Goldstein, Christian Schneider, Reid Wilson and Jennifer Dubé. To contact us with questions or for further information, e-mail CampaignManagerSurvey@gmail.com.
Why was I asked to participate?
The sample design of the survey calls for interviewing different types of political professionals across a range of campaign categories. We invite participants based on sampling our lists of campaign managers and consultants, as well as on the recommendations of others who are participating in the survey.
Why should I participate?
While our in-depth interview cooperation rate exceeds 90%, you should feel free to decline to participate in the survey for any personal reason. Nearly all respondents enjoy the opportunity to talk about their professional political insights, and many say the interview is a learning experience. Cash incentives or directed charitable donations cannot be offered because of the myriad of regulations and disclosure requirements for campaign managers who are now employed by governments.
What are the confidentiality ground rules?
All of your opinions and insights will be reported anonymously. We will contact you to request your consent if we would like to use specific quotes or campaign experiences for attribution. With your approval, your name will be listed in the book’s appendix and/or teaching website along with the other participants.
How long does the interview take? The in-person and in-depth telephone interviews have taken 45-90 minutes, depending on the interest and experience of the respondent, and are often broken into two shorter interviews to accommodate your schedule. The online survey modules take 10-20 minutes to complete depending on how much time you spend answering open-ended questions about your personal campaign experiences. These are completed online at your leisure.
If I do not have enough time to complete the online survey all at once, can I return to the survey without losing my previous responses?
Yes. The online survey is not recorded and closed until you complete it and see the “Thank-You” page at the end. The most convenient method for returning to your online survey is to make sure you have the URL we provide you (i.e., http://qtrial.qualtrics.com/...) copied and recorded somewhere such as in your email inbox. This URL will return you to the last spot you were in the survey.
Can I edit/change my responses after I have already completed my online survey?
Yes. To change responses once the online survey has been completed, please contact the research team at CampaignManagerSurvey@gmail.com. You will be provided with a link to your specific survey containing your previous responses. Change/edit any answers you would like and click through the survey until you see the “Thank-You” page at the end signifying that your new responses have been recorded.