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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 16, 2008

Inaugural Big Ten Battleground Poll results coming Thursday on Big Ten Network

Results of the Big Ten Battleground Poll, an innovative new project that tests voter sentiment in the eight Big Ten states that are key to this closely fought presidential campaign, will air this Thursday, Sept. 18, on the Big Ten Network.

The results of this rare regional poll -- a partnership involving eight Big Ten universities -- will be unveiled in a 90-minute show called "Big Ten Battleground: Campaign 2008" at 3 p.m. CDT (4 p.m. EDT) on the Big Ten Network. Also at that time, results will be available to the media and the general public online at

The scientific poll is sampling 600 individuals in each of the eight states: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota.

Several Big Ten institutions, including the University of Iowa, will issue follow-up news releases with state-specific results on Friday, Sept. 19.

The poll is co-directed by University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientists Charles Franklin, co-developer of, and Ken Goldstein, director of the Wisconsin Advertising Project, which tracks political ads on television.

"The states of the Big Ten are among the most competitive in the country and likely to be pivotal in determining the election outcome," Franklin said. "Now, for the first time, the Big Ten universities are collaborating in a region-wide poll allowing us to compare voting patterns in each of the eight Big Ten states and with national polling as well."

Goldstein said the project plays to Big Ten universities' traditional strength in studying elections.

"This project gives our universities the opportunity to pool the knowledge of all of our political experts and help viewers understand voter opinion," Goldstein said. "And, of course, many of our home states will be the most important and contested battlegrounds of the 2008 elections. Whoever wins the Big Ten will likely win the presidency."

Universities participating in the partnership are the University of Illinois, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Penn State University and UW-Madison.

"Big Ten Battleground: Campaign 2008" taps the power of the Big Ten Network to provide its universities with topical university programming outside of the sports realm. Each Big Ten university can take advantage of up to 60 hours of university programming on the network each year.

"That's a key part of our mission, and this first-ever effort at collaborative programming uses the network's national reach to give viewers a window into the groundbreaking work being done on our campuses," said Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman. "This is the kind of original university programming we envisioned when the network launched. There are many compelling stories and events taking place on and around Big Ten campuses that affect viewers across the country, and we are pleased to air such relevant programming to a national audience."

Faculty members from around the Big Ten say the project will provide valuable insight on how the electorate views the race and an important classroom and research tool -- providing a bridge between academia and real-time politics.

"Cooperating with other institutions allows us to see more directly where Iowa fits into the regional and national picture, giving us a better understanding of how this election is unfolding throughout these critical battlegrounds," said David Redlawsk, associate professor of political science in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Redlawsk directs the University of Iowa's Hawkeye Poll. He and co-director Caroline Tolbert have been conducting statewide and national Hawkeye Polls throughout the caucus and general election season. They said the Big Ten Battleground polls will serve as key comparative resources for their research. (Hawkeye Poll results are available at

"The Big Ten polls will build on the Hawkeye Polls we have conducted and will create a nice timeline of how Iowans feel about the 2008 presidential candidates over time," said Tolbert, associate professor of political science at the University of Iowa. "We're eager to compare the results of this September poll and the horserace in Iowa to the results of our August Hawkeye Poll, when Obama was leading by more than 5 percentage points over McCain in Iowa."

The Big Ten Battleground Poll will be repeated in mid-October, with the results presented in another installment of the show on the Big Ten Network. For more details about the poll, including a list of poll contacts at each of the participating universities, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Charles Franklin, University of Wisconsin Political Science Department/Big Ten Battleground Poll; 608-263-2022,; Ken Goldstein, University of Wisconsin Political Science Department/Big Ten Battleground Poll, 608-263-2390,; Jenny Price, University of Wisconsin communications office, 608-262-8296,; Nicole Riehl, University of Iowa News Service, 319-384-0070 (office), 319-430-6576 (cell),