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Bill Hamilton Memorial Survey Research Fund

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Bill Hamilton

This fund was established in 2001 in memory of Bill Hamilton, to support graduate students engaged in political survey research in both the college of Journalism and Communications and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Bill Hamilton (1939 – 2000) is considered one of the pioneers in political polling. As the principal of one the nation’s premier polling firms for almost 40 years, he helped develop the field of strategic opinion and attitude research—both in the U.S. and Internationally.

Bill was an early innovator in applying survey research findings to targeting and message development in political, grass roots, corporate image, and public education campaigns. He developed unique, customized research programs which provide strategic and actionable advice to clients, and many of the standards currently used in the research industry were designed by Hamilton & Staff, the company he started in 1964. Dave Beattie, a 1997 graduate of the Graduate Program in Political Campaigning at the University of Florida, currently runs what is now Hamilton Campaigns, in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Bill was a frequent speaker, commentator, and panelist for media, trade associations, research institutes, unions, businesses, and political groups. His presentations covered topics ranging from the U.S. national political mood to polling techniques to campaign planning and strategy. He wrote extensively on party image, international politics, and issue campaigns.

His international expertise took him all over the world as a lecturer and trainer. Bill delivered presentations on modern political research and strategy from Guatemala to Prague and Caracas to Johannesburg. Most recently, he served as principal consultant to winning campaigns in Sweden, the Dominican Republic, and St. Maarten, earning him the first ever “International Consultant of the Year” (1994) award from the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC).

Since the mid-’80s, Bill served as principal or bi-partisan pollster for key industry and advocacy campaigns on health insurance, public power, tort reform, student loans, gaming, and other issue campaigns debated in the public forum.

Bill was appointed by House Speaker Tip O’Neill in 1974 to serve as a Public Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Commission on Administrative Review (Obey Commission), and was a CBS Television News Consultant on the Southern Desk from 1974-82.

A founding member of the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC), Bill served as president (1991-92) and chairman (1993-94) of the organization. He was a board member of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC), and beginning in 1987 was a professor in the Graduate Program in Political Campaigning at the University of Florida. He was on the Advisory Boards of Campaigns & Elections Magazine and the Center for National Policy.

His education included a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Florida and post-graduate work in Research Design in Political Science at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).

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