campaigning program and research expanded
Virginia race between incumbent U.S. Sen. Charles Robb and former
Gov. George Allen is already heating up this summer. How campaign
behavior -- in particular, advertising -- affects the race will
be examined by the University's Sorensen
Institute for Political Leadership. The institute has received
a three-year, $730,000 grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to
expand its work on programs that encourage ethical political campaigning.
"We are very grateful to Pew for its continuing support.
The new grant will help us build on the work we've already done
in Virginia and export the Virginia model to other states,"
said William H. Wood, executive director of the institute. "The
vast majority of men and women who seek public office want to
run ethical campaigns -- and will run ethical campaigns if they
believe they can take the high road and still win. Our job is
to show them how they can do both."
Institute for Political Leadership
The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, established
in 1993, is a privately funded, nonpartisan center, housed
in the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, that runs
programs for Virginians who want to become actively involved
in the political process. From its inception, the institute
has emphasized ethical campaign conduct.
1997, it received a $410,000, 30-month grant from The Pew
Charitable Trusts to develop Charitable Trusts a national
program to teach state and local candidates that they can
win without resorting to unethical behavior. The program,
called the Project on Campaign Conduct, includes sessions
on campaign basics -- fund-raising, polls, message delivery
-- but emphasizes how to approach every aspect of campaigning
in an ethical manner.
into the effects of campaign conduct has boomed in recent years,
but has yielded mostly contradictory findings. The Sorensen study
will be a marriage between cutting-edge political science and
the world of practical politics. In addition to conducting surveys
about the Robb-Allen race, the institute will conduct a national
survey this fall to see how Virginians' opinions about campaign
conduct compare with people in other states. As with the Virginia
surveys, the national study will ask what people like and dislike
about political campaigns and how campaign conduct affects citizens'
attitudes and behaviors. The institute will incorporate the information
gained from the surveys into its curriculum for first-time candidates.
of the public seems to be disgusted with political campaigns.
Focusing on the Robb-Allen race gives us a chance to learn how
candidate conduct -- both good and bad -- might influence public
sentiment about campaigns," said Dale Lawton, director of
the institute's Project on Campaign Conduct.