Opinion Blog: Is Obama losing steam?

April 6, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Samantha Verrill
sverrill@smu.edu

Was President Obama too informal about his formal statement to run for the presidency on Monday?

Though this was a formal announcement, it came in a very casual manner. Obama sent an e-mail and video. There was no speech at all.

With all of the glitz and glam of the last election, I expected fireworks. For a President whose approval rating has been in decline, he might serve his interests better by directly addressing all of his constituents. The e-mail was only sent to those who are signed up to receive messages from him.

The e-mail was a grassroots oriented plan that stated the importance of one-on-one conversations verses “expensive TV ads or extravaganzas.” Obama said he wanted to start campaigning on a more individual and personal level. Here is some news Obama, YouTube videos and e-mail blasts are about as impersonal as you can get.

The daring to be different could put a huge damper on his campaign. His newness is wearing off and he needs to have some substance behind him or his whole campaign will fail.

Obama is using social media for this election, just like he did last time. He is even holding a facebook town hall. He says he wants to be more hands on with his constituents but his actions show something completely different, the road to November 2012 should be an interesting one.

Though many were caught up in the change Obama spoke of last election it may take more than a two-minute video to get everyone re-interested.

In 2008 many candidates chose to forego the traditional speech. Obama could have made a better effort with one of the best political teams in the country and all of the advantages of being an incumbent. For a guy who was dubbed an innovator in the last election, there was nothing innovative about this low-key venture.

Is it laziness or the intense pressure of being in office that lead Obama to announce intentions for seeking re-election in this manner? Whatever it is, he may want to kick it in to high gear and at least pretend he cares before other candidates start announcing their intentions to run.

Prof Runs GOP Debate Focus Group on Campus

January 31, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

One of the dial tests used in Friday night's debate focus group. (PHOTO BY ELISABETH BRUBAKER / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

One of the dial tests used in Friday night's debate focus group. (PHOTO BY ELISABETH BRUBAKER / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

By Elisabeth Brubaker
ebrubake@smu.edu

SMU Professor Dr. Rita Kirk held a focus group in Umphrey Lee Friday night to study the Republican reaction to the Belo debate. Kirk recruited 30 Republicans- both first time and repeat voters to participate in the focus group during the GOP Debate.

Kirk has been doing research for over 20 years. CNN first hired Kirk for the debates during the presidential election primaries. This past weekend she brought her research back to the Hilltop only one day after going to Ohio to dial test the President’s State of the Union address.

The focus groups are used to “dial test” a particular speech or event. Each participant is given a dial to record their perceptions of the candidates (or the President) at any moment throughout the speech or debate.

Kirk loves analyzing the data afterwards. During the candidates’ closing statements Kirk was able to see who did the best overall. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison had the highest rating with 73 out of 100. Governor Rick Perry got a 67 and Debra Medina got a 63.

Some participants offered their opinions of the dial testing and candidates after the debate. Watch the videos for their reactions.

(Editor’s note: Elisabeth Brubaker is a student assistant for Dr. Kirk’s research study.)

One participant said this about the “jeopardy” portion of the debate:

Another participant discussed how she reads the candidates.