BBC News Interviews Prof. Dean Spiliotes and Matt St. John ‘09

June 11, 2007

IMG_1996.JPGDuring last week’s CNN debates, nearly 600 media descended upon Saint Anselm College, including a global contingent of reporters from Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, among others.

Prof. Dean Spiliotes, director of research at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and Matt St. John ‘09 were both quoted in a BBC News story over the weekend. A photograph of St. John was included with the story. You can read an excerpt below and view the full story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6728595.stm.

Want to meet the next president of the United States? Move to New Hampshire and you stand a good chance.

In a country of some 300 million people, the state’s 1.3 million residents are perhaps the most heavily-canvassed and targeted voters of any in the nation, bar Iowa.

Last week each party’s candidates flocked to New Hampshire for the latest televised debates, as they seek the all-important nomination to run for president in 2008.

It’s not for lack of attention on the part of the candidates, however.

Rather, such is the buzz surrounding some of the frontrunners that instead of meeting them at a cosy coffee morning, people have found themselves in a crowd of hundreds or even thousands.

Senators Clinton and Obama have attracted large crowds to events

Dean Spiliotes, director of research at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, says this has been particularly true of some events held by Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

“Early on some of Obama’s advisors suggested in the media they would do something a bit differently from the traditional New Hampshire model,” he says.

“They are still doing some of these larger events - but also the smaller ones. But it’s difficult. Part of it is that they are popular candidates.”

He warns it is important not to underestimate the power of retail, or face-to-face, politicking - especially in a state where the residents are very switched-on.

“Voters meet the candidates directly and in general, what we have found is that voters seek out candidates that they already have an affinity for,” he says.

“Then they get more excited and so bring in their friends and their families and it has a multiplying effect. It helps the candidates mobilize networks of supporters.”

Both the Clinton and Obama campaign teams have said they intend to organize more small-scale events.

That should come as a relief to 19-year-old Matt St. John, who moved to New Hampshire to study precisely because he wanted to meet the political movers and shakers.

“I realized it was a different world,” he says. “I’ve seen every presidential candidate at least once or twice, I’ve seen Hillary Clinton, Karl Rove, President and Laura Bush.”

“There are 18 candidates. If I go to 18 events and ask the same questions of them all, I will be able to ask the next president of the United States something that is important to me.”

“It’s an amazing opportunity to have as a 19-year-old.”

For the full story, visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6728595.stm.


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