Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Overcoming party divisions

Last summer, Michael Heaney, Joanne Miller, Dara Strolovitch, and I conducted a survey of delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Our paper detailing the results of this survey can be found here.

The paper is about divisions among Democratic delegates during the convention. We were looking to see what factors caused Clinton delegates to become more or less accepting of Obama as the nominee, and also what factors caused Obama delegates to become more or less accepting of the role played by Clinton supporters at the convention.

Some of the results are pretty predictable. For example, Clinton delegates who had more experience within the party (had attended previous conventions, had held local party offices, etc.) tended to be more accepting of Obama's nomination. What we found particularly interesting was an effect of participation in the various group caucuses held during the convention. Clinton delegates who were more involved in the caucuses became less supportive of Obama.

Another interesting finding was that Sen. Clinton's speech on the Tuesday night of the convention endorsing Obama mainly affected Obama supporters, making them more accepting of the role played by Clinton delegates, without making Clinton delegates more supportive of Obama.

My co-authors and I are presenting this paper at the Midwest Political Science Association meeting tomorrow in Chicago. The paper is still a bit rough and will probably undergo a lot of revision before we try to get it published, but feel free to check it out. Feedback welcome.

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