AMES, Iowa (KMIZ)
A group of University of Missouri students and faculty visited the Iowa caucus on Monday to poll voters on their preferences.
The group from MU's Political Communications Institute plans to survey people attending rallies for the Democratic candidates for president. Those survey results will then be used to research how voters in several demographic groups feel about the candidates in the race.
The five students on the trip range from sophomores to seniors who tell ABC 17 News that the trip could give them valuable insight into their fields of interest, such as public policy and communications.
Ben Warner, co-director of the institute, said the project helps students observe the presidential selection process firsthand. The university has held the trip for students for several election cycles.
"I think the Iowa caucuses are really like democracy in a strong sense. People in a room trying to persuade each other, talking about the direction of the future," Warner said.
Weaver said the research project will expand this year. The school has teamed up with universities in other states such as Alabama and Kansas to hand out surveys.
Students said the trip also gives them a chance to pick up skills in fields like political science, public policy and communications. Nick Ahmed, a senior in the program and hopeful campaign manager, said the research will allow him to talk to voters about issues and their feelings about them.
"If I was working for a senator running for office, I hear all these things here and I can go back and say, 'Hey I heard this when I was here, so let's maybe try to avoid those kinds of things,'" Ahmed said.
The group said merely experiencing the caucus was a benefit in taking the trip.
Watch ABC 17 News at 5 and 6 for more on this story.