June 17, 1998

Don’t Blame Us

The Views Of Political Consultants

About this Survey

Results for the survey are based on telephone interviews conducted with 200 professional political consultants under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates between November 1997 and March 1998.

Political consultants were selected through a two-stage process. In the first stage, a list of 302 political consulting firms was created. This listing included all general, media, polling, and fundraising firms listed in Campaigns & Elections magazine’s 1992, 1994, and 1996 post-election reports as being associated with one or more campaigns for president or Congress in any of these election cycles.

Next, the firms on this list were divided into two groups. One group included all firms which were involved in one or more presidential campaigns, or more than five Senate campaigns, or more th
an 30 House campaigns over the course of the three election cycles. The second group included all other firms. Every firm in the first group was contacted for an interview. In addition, a sample of the firms from the second group was randomly selected for interviewing.

The individual consultants to be interviewed at each selected firm were identified from the list of principals or partners associated with each firm, as reported in the 1996 Political Resource Directory. For firms with two or more partners, one of the partners was randomly selected to be interviewed first. At the completion of an interview with the first person interviewed at each firm, that person was asked for the names of the firm’s “other principals or senior associates who work on political campaigns.” These individuals were subsequently contacted for interviews, as well.

Each person selected for an interview was sent a letter requesting their participation in the survey. Subsequently, every selected person was contacted several times, if necessary to schedule and complete an interview.

The following table presents the disposition of sampled persons for the survey:
Total Individuals 339

Ineligible 25

Effective total 314

Completes 200 64%

Incomplete interviews 1 *

Refusals 19 6%

No answer 40 13%

Could not be contacted 54 17%