More than 200,000 Turn Out for Rally to Restore Sanity: Survey Project Examines Background, Media Choices, and Political Views of Participants
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Claims about the size of rallies on the National Mall are an important framing device that advocates and journalists use to communicate the strength and impact of a movement. Of course, accurately judging the size of a rally is a difficult challenge. Using a unique aerial photograph methodology, CBS News and research firm AirPhotosLive.com estimates Saturday's Rally to Restore Sanity turned out 215,000 attendees, almost three times the size of the Glenn Beck rally.
The methodology is not without debate. When CBS and the research firm estimated the Glenn Beck rally at only 87,000, it prompted claims of liberal media bias from Beck and others. CBS responded with a detailed account of their methodology.
Even more challenging than estimating the size of a rally is accurately determining the background, attitudes, and political views of the rally participants. That was our goal Saturday, as I joined with AU colleague Lauren Feldman and 15 communication students to conduct more than 200 face-to-face survey interviews with participants.
We employed a unique cluster sampling strategy that led to an approximately representative sample of respondents. Check out the photo of our survey team below as the students prepare to head out into the field.
Next week, we will be releasing a report on our survey findings, featuring an analysis of the backgrounds, political views, voting preferences, media choices, and associational ties of the participants in the rally. Look for much more here at Age of Engagement.
A new study shows choosing to be active is a lot of work for our brains. Here are some ways to make it easier.
There's no shortage of science suggesting that exercise is good for your mental as well as your physical health — and yet for many of us, incorporating exercise into our daily routines remains a struggle. A new study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, asks why. Shouldn't it be easier to take on a habit that is so good for us?
A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.
Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you.
The stories we tell define history. So who gets the mic in America?
- History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs.
- In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks.
- Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers.
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