Interview with Professor Danny Hayes

Posted on April 5, 2012 by


Danny Hayes who is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Administration at American University agreed to be interviewed for our project. Professor Hayes’ qualifications are as follows : PhD.D. in Government, University of Texas at Austin, 2006,M.A. in Government, University of Texas at Austin, 2004, Bachelor of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin, 1998. Professor Hayes also serves as a contributor to Washington Post’s public opinion blog Behind the Numbers. More info can be found a t

Below is a list of questions and answers. The answers were paraphrased and are not verbatim from Professor Hayes:

Q: What role has social media played in the Republican primaries?

Social media has played a minor role in the campaign. The candidates have not devoted a lot time and energy to these technologies because they have a limited effect. Social media tends to attract people with strong political views. It does not create large divisions because most of the people who use social media already have strong political views. Many people are not tuned in to social media.

Q: Do you think that the Republican Party is divided?

Yes, because the conservatives feel like Romney is not conservative enough.

Q: Should this election be labelled the Twitter election?

The effect of social media is exaggerated. It is great for raising money. More money is being spent on traditional media. Social media is great for recruiting volunteers, mobilizing voters and making sure that people turn out on election day.

Q: What do you think caused the division in the GOP?

The establishment wants to nominate Romney because he is a more effective messenger. He has the best chance to beat Obama. There is a specific group within the Republican party that is committed to a more conservative vision. They prefer a more ideologically pure candidate.  The establishment is more concerned with defeating Obama while the conservatives are concerned about ideological vision.

Q: Why should candidates shy away from Twitter?

In the primaries, candidates are more concerned with getting older voters who are not necessarily in tune with the whole social media phenomenon. Twitter works for financial campaigns and its easier to collect money through online campaigns.

Q: Why are politicians hesitant to endorse Romney?

Many of the candidates are afraid of upsetting the Tea Party and are very careful about aligning themselves with Romney. They are afraid of the political power of the Tea Party and do not want to endorse Romney until he is the nominee

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