More often than not, campaigns, whether electing a candidate or branding a corporation, are about understanding and building a broader image and perception than they are about specific issues. Issues, rather, are the elements used to frame and inform the image and perceptions that we need to drive.
Our approach is that of thematic pollsters, believing that each data set tells a complex, often interwoven story and as pollsters it is our job to understand that story and define the clearest and most salient route for our clients to achieve their objectives. Read More
In 2008, Myers Research | Strategic Services conducted a first-of-its-kind study on college affordability for GotTuition.Org. a national, nonpartisan campaign directed at raising the issue of college affordability. This multi-modal survey, consisting of over two thousand interviews in total, included both telephone and web-based interviews and oversampled current college students, recent college graduates, graduates with student loans, and parents of children in college to assess their views of the importance of a college education, their struggles to afford it, and their view of a college education in light of the current economic climate. Additionally, Hispanic voters, a key target audience in the 2008 elections and an audience traditionally very concerned about education, were also oversampled.
Certainly, the economy and jobs dominated voter concerns in 2008, particularly after the severe economic downturn on Wall Street in September. Nonetheless, this survey clearly showed that college affordability was a key part of the broader economic debate in the 2008 election and beyond. Importantly, a broad majority of voters significantly favored Barack Obama’s proposals for making college more affordable over John McCain’s, and Obama’s advantage grew among the key blocs of voters detailed above --- college students, recent college graduates, those with student loans, parents with children in college, and Hispanic voters. It is notable that while Obama significantly outperformed previous Democratic Presidential candidates among college students and recent college graduates on Election Day, he also outperformed traditional trends among Hispanics and college-educated voters as well.
More importantly, however, this research proved critical to developing the messaging on the importance of making college more affordable, particularly in light of the current economic climate. With voters expressing wide agreement that a college education is more important today than it was a decade ago (as well as indicating that college is also now more difficult to afford), it is clear that voters make the connection between a college degree and economic success. As a result, we assisted our client in developing a nuanced message because of these trends, enabling them to frame the debate over college affordability around the United States losing its competitive edge to other nations and the potential to continue to lose good-paying jobs to other countries.