Campaign '08

Politico debate update

The interest in space in the upcoming CNN/Politico debates does not appear to be a fluke—at least not yet. Among the most popular Republican questions, space policy questions occupy four of the top seven spots, and six of the top 15. On the Democratic side it’s even stronger: nine of the top ten most popular questions are all about space (a question about Darfur is the exception, at #3).

Scanning through the most popular lists for both parties, I also noticed a large number of questions about marriage, divorce, and families; you have to get far down the list before you start encountering more familiar topics like Iraq and immigration (although there are a couple questions about taxes near the top of the Republican list.) What still isn’t stated is exactly how many votes are being cast for these questions, nor how this popularity contest will affect the selection of questions for the debates. I’ve made an inquiry on these subjects to Politico.com, but have not received a response yet.

8 comments to Politico debate update

  • One thing I would ask everyone who has posted questions, or voted on questiosn, for the politico debate – be respectful, and mindful of the situation.

    I make this point, because, many and most things from Bush will come in for critism, and this includes VSE. And this will hurt your chances of getting a favorable response (and would thus argue against question directly relating to Humans to Mars or the moon)

    I would argue that we are better off approaching them from something they aren’t necassarily going to know a lot about ie commerical space.

  • Another thing I have noticed is that some of the questions are rather long. The longer the question, the less chance it has of being asked. Keep it to two simple and concise sentences.

  • Tom

    I think this will even out (more popular topics will move to the fore) as the word gets out to other interest groups.

    It looks like the NASA questions (at least on the Republican side) have had their subject changed to “Leadership”

    While brevity is important, keep in mind that space questions can seem jarring in a debate. Keep them short, but vote for those that give a little bit of context as well.

  • At 4pm EST, the count stands at 15 and 6 of the top 25, for the Dems and Reps.

    Obama’s Campaign started ads on Space.com yesterday…

    What this means – if we can keep up the activity – is that at a minimum, these Presidential Hopefuls will have to STUDY space, so that they can answer the questions – if they are asked. So even if they have never really considered it before (and odds are, they never had) now they will have to think about it, ask for a briefing from their staff, and their staff will have to look to the community for advice and opinions… If NOTHING else happens, we have already succeeded!

    But I want to go further. I have sent a couple emails out to folks, I have blogged, and will send out a newsletter to my mailing list tomorrow. John B has also set up a useful site: http://www.actionforspace.com so that interested people can work together. John and I could use some help. Thanks!

    Take care. mjl

  • Michael: Obama’s Campaign started ads on Space.com yesterday…

    Wow! That’s big news. We’re finally having an impact. And, I agree with your analysis. . . .

    – Donald

  • Tom

    Cool news on the Obama adds. I’ll keep an eye out for them.

    I’m curious with the automation in that area now (Google ads and such), whether it required action from the campaign to make the change. I assume so, since other candidates haven’t been mentioned.

    Interesting times…

  • Anonymous

    I am, at best, ambivalent about this development on the CNN/Politico polls. In the enthusiasm to promote space exploration, it seems that some are forgetting that spamming internet polls does not equal an organic widespread interest. In fact, there is a distinct possibility that this kind of activity at this scale might just end up marginalizing the issue, as it will go a long way to convince people that support of space is an opinion held by a vocal minority of nuts who have nothing better to do than to spam internet polls.

    One thing that might be of some possible help is for some space advocacy groups to work with the Politico to combine several questions, so at least there is a little clearer appearance of rationality, rather than just convincing folks that space folks are willing to let Iraq slide, Darfur burn, the economy tank, and the country collapse just to promote their interest in space exploration.

    Granted, there is some merit in a strongly motivated activist population, but all politicians know that strongly committed activists are often just flat-out unhinged. Conveying the impression of discipline, reason, and rationality, rather than incoherent frenzy will be necessary to make such activism useful to a prospective candidate.

  • [...] a number of others) about the question voting process. This should have raised some red flags (and I did mention those concerns a couple of weeks ago) but advocates pressed ahead with ever more strident exhortations to vote for questions. Now some [...]

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