Students to Conduct “Super Tuesday” Exit Polling

2/1/2008

Suffolk University Students will work as exit pollsters in Boston on “Super Tuesday.”

“Our students will be conducting a trial-run of an exit poll of Boston voters,” said Assistant Professor of Government Rachael V. Cobb.  “They will ask voters a series of questions about whom they voted for, their demographic characteristics, and their satisfaction with the voting experience.”

Thirty Suffolk University students will be involved on Feb. 5.  Most of the students will be at five polling locations in and around the Boston area, while some students will be on campus coordinating the effort.

Multilingual effort

“The purpose of this trial run is to get a handle on the logistical features of running an exit poll,” said Cobb. “The exceptional part about our exit poll is that we’re conducting it in four languages ... English, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Spanish.”

Cobb hopes that this community endeavor will promote the importance of civic engagement.

“We plan to expand our project to include as many of the polling locations in Boston as possible in the September 16, 2008, Massachusetts Primary Election, and the November 4, 2008 General Election,” said Cobb.

History of involvement

Suffolk University partnered with the city of Boston to recruit and train students as poll workers for Election Day 2006 through a $10,000 grant from the Center for Election Integrity, based at Cleveland State University in Ohio. Suffolk University also piloted the Center’s guidebook outlining how to effectively mobilize student poll workers.

“It was wonderful to be partnering with the city of Boston on that exciting and educational project,” said Cobb. “Through participation in that project, students learned how democracy actually works, and it engaged them on the importance of civic and volunteer participation in their communities.”

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