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G. Terry Madonna, Ph.D – Political Commentator and Pollster

By Admin | November 5, 2007

G. Terry Madonna is a widely read political commentator and political scientist at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is also the founder of the influential Keystone Poll. Dr. Madonna recently answered some questions for DailyInterview.


Where are you from?

Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Where did you go to college and what was your academic major?

I went to Millersville University for an undergraduate degree and majored in social studies, with an emphasis in history. I then went to the University of Delaware for an M.A. and a PhD in political history.

What has been your career path?

I have been a college professor my entire adult life, with a brief stint as a court appointed county commissioner in Lancaster County and a six-year leave of absence from Millersville University to serve as President of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.

Also for six years I directed and taught in the Harrisburg-based Master in Governmental Administration program for the University of Pennsylvania.

Why did you found the Keystone poll?

Because there was a need  for an independent, non-partisan public survey to assist Pennsylvania voters in understanding the issues and policies being debated in Harrisburg and Washington, and to assess their views on campaign issues and candidates for governmental office.

What is the focus of the Keystone poll?

Mostly, the poll covers Pennsylvania government and politics, though we have polled in congressional and local races, and especially in the Philadelphia mayoral contests.

Do you own the Keystone poll?

I own the name “the Keystone Poll” along with the poll’s methodologist Berwood Yost. But, most of the resources for the poll are provided by Franklin and Marshall College, since it has been situated at Franklin and Marshall College for the last five years.

The poll should therefore be considered the Franklin and Marshall College Poll, which is now its official name.

The poll is produced in conjunction with several media partners (including) he Philadelphia Daily News, the Harrisburg Patriot-News, WGAL-TV, The Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and WTAE-TV.

How do you actually go about collecting polling info? Do you hire college kids to make person-to-person contact, or via the phone, etc.?

We use telephone interviewing with a paid staff of about 60 people, most of whom are adults. But, some students do work on the poll.

What makes a poll “scientific?”

Many things, but chiefly the fact that interviews are conducted using random selection techniques in selecting the sample and when selecting the actual interviewees.

Do you think Washington is more partisan under George W. Bush than his predecessors?

It seems to be more overtly partisan than recent previous administrations, but politics is at the core of many decisions made in Washington by both parties.

One concern is the politicization of the Justice Department, something even Republicans, like Dick Thornburgh, have discussed recently.

How likely do you think it is that Hillary Clinton will get the Democratic nomination for President?

I think she has an 80 percent chance. She was roughed up recently in the Philadelphia presidential debate, but she held her own, given the fact that she had six opponents pilling on.

She is the consensus choice among Democrats nationally, but the early primary and caucus states can get tricky for her. Not a sure thing, but almost.

What is the biggest potential obstacle or problem for her in getting the nomination?

Mostly her past, especially all the baggage from her husband’s presidency and maybe voters just don’t want to relive the past. We are in a change environment and that usually favors a fresh face with new ideas.

She has high negatives with about 40 percent of voters saying they will not vote for her.

How likely do you think it is that Hillary Clinton will be President?

I would say 60 to 40 percent that she will. That does leave a huge 40 percent chance she will not.

How would you rate Ed Rendell in his role as Governor of Pennsylvania?

Rendell is the most skillful Pennsylvania politician of my lifetime. He is flexible and opportunistic, and knows how to compromise.

He got most of his legislative agenda through a Republican legislature during his first term. The jury is out on his second, but he’s off to a decent start.

Copyright 2007 DailyInterview.net

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