Blair Center, Clinton School combine for political program | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blair Center, Clinton School combine for political program

Posted By on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Don't they call this "leveraging synergies" in businessspeak?

It's good news about two University of Arkansas entities, in any case.

The Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society and the Clinton School of Public Service, along with the Clinton School's Center on Community Philanthropy, have announced plans to resume national polling after the 2012 presidential election. (Presuming there's anything to poll about anymore when Tea Party/Koch hegemonyt takes control.)

The institutions also plan a series of Year of the Woman events in 2013. An update of Diane Blair's 1973 report on the status of women should be interesting. Women have advanced in Arkansas since then, but you couldn't necessarily tell that by looking at corporate boardrooms and executive office suites.

More details:

Two University of Arkansas System entities today announced a multi-year partnership that will include scholarly research and co-sponsored conferences and speakers on topics central to the study of southern politics, public service and community philanthropy.

In their first collaboration, the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, in conjunction with the Clinton School’s Center on Community Philanthropy, will launch the Blair Center-Clinton School (BCCS) national poll immediately following the 2012 Presidential election.

The non-partisan, academic poll will explore trends regarding giving, regional identification, religion, racial discrimination, ideology and partisanship. Though national in scope, the poll will uniquely include representative samples of traditionally under-polled groups such as African Americans, Latinos and southern whites and measure their attitudes on a host of contemporary political issues such as abortion rights, gay marriage, philanthropy, public service, global warming, the economy and health care reform.

Early findings from the poll — including 2016 presidential election preferences — are expected to be announced at the end of the year and will be discussed in greater depth during a roundtable discussion at the annual meeting of the Southern Political Science Association in Orlando and at a Clinton School public program in January 2013.

This is the Blair Center’s second election year to administer the poll and the first time it will be conducted in partnership with the Clinton School. The project was founded by an interdisciplinary group of scholars from the Blair Center including Todd Shields, Angie Maxwell, Pearl Ford Dowe and Rafael Jimeno. The expertise of Dean Skip Rutherford and Charlotte Williams from the Clinton School will enhance the project significantly.

“The Blair Center and its faculty have done groundbreaking work with the data they’ve gathered through this poll and we are thrilled to join their effort,” Rutherford said. “With the Blair Center’s focus on politics and ours on public service, this is a natural partnership.”

The BCCS poll will be administered by Knowledge Networks, the leader in web-based survey research. Knowledge Networks proprietary database features a representative sample of Americans, including representation of the roughly 30 percent of U.S. households that do not have internet access. In addition, the database covers the growing number of cell phone-only households, recently estimated at 23 percent of all households, through address-based sampling. The survey will be conducted in both English and Spanish.

The Blair Center-Clinton School partnership will also launch a series of events celebrating 2013 as the “Year of the Woman.” Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the 1973 release of the first report on the Status of Women in Arkansas, authored by Diane D. Blair and the Commission on the Status of Women. The Clinton School has already been working with the Women's Foundation of Arkansas on an updated edition of that report and will co-sponsor the 5th Blair Legacy Series conference focusing on women in American Politics. Also, the BCCS poll will include extensive measures on contemporary attitudes towards women in general, as well as female politicians and key women’s policy issues.

According to Todd Shields, Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Arkansas and Director of the Blair Center, “this partnership with the esteemed Clinton School provides the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the accomplishments of Diane Blair and all women who permanently altered the landscape of American politics. We are grateful for the opportunity that the Clinton School has provided us.”

For more information about the Blair Center-Clinton School partnership, please visit or

About the Partners:

The Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society was established in 2001 by an act of U.S. Congress. This research center was named in honor of Diane Divers Blair who taught in the Political Science Department at the University of Arkansas for 30 years. The Blair Center reflects her academic model and strives to approach the study of the American South from a variety of angles, attempting to reveal the undercurrents of politics, history and culture that have shaped the region.

The nation’s seventh presidential school, the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service is the first school in the nation to offer a Master of Public Service (MPS) degree, giving students the knowledge and experience to further their careers in the areas of nonprofit, governmental, volunteer or private sector service. Additionally, the mission of the Clinton School’s Center on Community Philanthropy, directed by Charlotte Williams, is to promote issues and research into community-based philanthropy and its role in generating social, economic and political change.

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