Political Science 1 – Introduction to Government
Professor Charlotte Joseph
Fall 2008
The Project: Each student is to select one of the two major party candidates who are running for President
of the United States in this November’s election. Using major national newspapers (i.e. NY Times,
Washington Post, LA Times, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal), text books, news magazines
(i.e. Time), websites and other internet sources, write an essay about the candidate and their campaign to
be president. This will include an analysis of your research findings.
The paper must address the following information in the body of the paper:
1. The candidate’s family background and its relevance to the office.
2. The candidate’s personal background and its relevance to the office.
3. Their philosophy on the issues, including the strengths and weaknesses of their positions. You
must address at least ten issues.
Their campaign manager and other key policy advisors. Who are they and what is their
5. Their supporters: who are they, what are their backgrounds, and what occupations or industries do
they come from?
6. Their opponents: who are they, what are their backgrounds, and what occupations or industries do
they come from?
7. Their campaign costs and sources of funding, both direct and indirect. How much money are they
collecting and spending? For what campaign activities? What funds are being spent on their behalf
by outside groups, including their party? Who is giving them money? Both individuals, groups,
and occupations. Remember to look beyond the money collected by their campaign committee.
Newspapers are an excellence source for this information. There are websites that also look at the
money spent in campaigns.
8. Their campaign strategy: Who are they trying to appeal to? How are they trying to reach them?
Does their campaign vary in different parts of the nation? What is their strategy to win the Electoral
College? Don’t forget the role of the vice presidential running mates.
9. The election outcome: Before the election write up your prediction about how the election. Who
do you thing will win and why? Back your prediction up with facts and examples. Then after the
election, did the election turn out as you predicted? Why or why not?
10. Your research findings: What did you discover as you researched the candidate? Did any of the
information surprise you? What were your best sources of information? How would you critique
the coverage? Could you find the information you needed? What it biased? Etc. What did you
learn about the media and the political process?
The Format: In a 8-10 page paper, each student is to present their research findings. The paper must be
typed, double-spaced, use 12 point font, and contain standard term paper margins. The paper must be
proof-read and error free. Points will be taken off the final score for errors. The paper should include a title
page and bibliography using the APA or Chicago format. Use in-text citations rather than footnotes or
endnotes. The paper must be bound in a 3-prong paper binder. No loose papers will be accepted.
Students are encouraged to make use of the Library and its resources on the internet such as ProQuest.
Make use of websites provided in your text book. Computers are available in the Library for you to use in
the writing of your paper. If you work early the Writing Center can assist you in the writing of your paper.
The Due Date: Your paper is due NO LATER THAN the beginning of class on Friday, November 7th.
Remember you can turn your paper in at anytime BEFORE the deadline. Work ahead and do not
procrastinate until the last weekend. It is a certainty that if you do procrastinate that something will go
wrong—the computer will crash, the printer won’t work, the dog will eat the paper, your family will have a
medical emergency, etc. The reason will not matter; NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR ANY
The Points: 75 points possible.