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August, 2006 - SMAC in the News

Survey's focus is on political-season issues, not candidates

Rae Kruger

If you haven't been contacted already, you may be.

The Southwest Marketing Advisory Center is conducting a political research survey regarding concerns of residents of southwest Minnesota.

Surveyors are Southwest Minnesota State University students who work at the center.

“We're not looking for how residents feel about specific candidates,“ said Mike Rich, the center's director and a professor at SMSU.

Instead, surveyors are more interested in what issues motivate voting, what are the top three characteristics that have a role in a choice of candidate and other issues, Rich said.

Residents in Lyon County and contiguous counties are being polled, Rich said. The survey takes about four minutes, Rich said.

Residents may receive one of the 150 surveys by mail or get a telephone call, Rich said.

“It's not an easy task,“ he said.

“Getting a response is terrible on this stuff,“ Rich, said.

But it's an important piece of work a marketing center can do, and it can have an impact on future campaigns, Rich said.

Candidates and others can use the results to see what issues voters are interested in and what kind of candidates get their vote, Rich said.

It also provides students and the center with practical experience and material to apply to other projects, he said.

Surveyed residents are asked to list their top three characteristics a candidate should have, then are asked to pick candidates who best match those characteristics.

The races included in the survey are governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, and the state senate and house races that apply to their county.

Rich said the questions are asked open-ended on the issue of listing three characteristics, but if respondents aren't able to do so, they can be assisted by listening to a list of at least 10 characteristics.

“As a candidate, I'd be much more interested in the unaided answers,“ Rich said.

Other questions ask how strongly respondents agree or disagree on statements about whether or not people become well-educated before voting, on whether government represents their concerns and other statements.

Rich said the results should be tallied and available by mid-September.

For further information, call 507-537-7102 or e-mail:

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