DES MOINES, Iowa (Jan. 30, 2016) – A group of Boilermakers have arrived in the Hawkeye State this weekend, just days ahead of the Iowa Caucuses Monday.
Ten Purdue University students arrived in Des Moines Friday night as part of a hands-on, first-of-its-kind research project.
“We’re looking to learn more about the Iowa voter in general and what it’s like to go and experience this,” Michael Turinetti said, a Purdue University junior.
During the next several days, the students will embrace everything Iowa and everything Iowa Caucus-related, from campaign rallies to national media headquarters and the historical importance of the caucuses.
“I think a big takeaway is a sense of realism,” Joshua Scacco said, an assistant professor of media theory and politics at Purdue’s Brian Lamb School of Communication.
As part of the project, students will survey rally-goers on Saturday and Sunday, asking not only who they plan to caucus for, but more importantly, why.
“I want to see what a political rally is like on a college campus because we don’t have a lot of those,” Jenny Jackson said, a Purdue University senior.
Both Democratic and Republican candidates are spending the weekend looking for any last-minute momentum, knowing at some point Iowans could still change their minds.
“I do feel lucky because we get to see it first on the ground,” Shawn Carr said, a Purdue University senior.
The students hope to use their data to further a dialogue as Iowa sets the stage for a year of politicking.
“The nice thing about democracy is it’s messy,” Scacco said. “And I think it’s important students see that and students see that in a lot of ways the process we elect our leaders can be chaotic at times.”