London, 13 October 2016 – Former Senior White House Speechwriter Ambassador Carolyn Curiel travelled to Ealing’s University of West London (UWL) to talk to over 200 guests about the contentious US presidential race; the fight that’s making history. The talk titled Democracy Unplugged: The 2016 road to the White House was the first of UWL’s Public Lecture series of the academic year and also covered polls on voter confidence.
Guests, which included UWL’s students and staff, members of the public as well as Ealing’s Madam Mayor Dr Patricia Walker and Mayor Consort Lawrence Walker, were captivated by the unique perspective presented by the Ambassador; drawn from her vast experience in public service, journalism and academia.
Currently a Clinical Professor of Communications at the prestigious Purdue Institute in Indiana, USA, the Ambassador has previously served as a Senior White House Speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and as the Ambassador to Belize. Her career in journalism includes working for ABC News and Washington Post as well as a member of the Editorial Board of The New York Times where she was called the ‘most powerful person in New York politics’.
During the evening, Ambassador Curiel shared with the audience what separated this election from those in the past by analysing the role of the news media in this scandal driven race for the White House and its finances, on which she said, “This has been the longest, most expensive, most divisive, most embarrassing, most confounding presidential race in our history.”
The Ambassador also talked of the increasing use of Twitter in this election which has been utilised by Republic nominee Donald Trump more than anyone else in politics. According to data obtained from Twitter this month, Mr Trump has tweeted 33,400 times compared to President Barack Obama’s 15,300 tweets and Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton’s 8,607 tweets.
Ambassador Curiel also talked about her students’ work as part of the Purdue Institute for Civic Communications (PICC), of which she is both founder and Executive Director of. PICC students create and analyse national polls on voters’ civic confidence on election issues and, last month, conducted a poll that showed what Americans know and believe in about the state of their nation.
Headline poll results shared was that 2% of voters will seek counselling if their candidate loses and that 83% of Americans think that the quality of news coverage about the campaign has been of low quality.
UWL’s Vice Chancellor Professor Peter John said, ‘It was a delight to host the Ambassador who shared a truly unique perspective on the topical election. It was also a delight to hear that, as a Founder of PICC, the Ambassador shares our goals as a Career University by using experimental learning to prepare young people for jobs, whether it is in public service or other fields of communications.’
The next free Public Lecture in the series will take place on 1 November where the star of BBC’s hit series ‘The Apprentice’ and Britain’s Business icon, Alumnus Claude Littner will be in conversation with former BBC Media Correspondent Torin Douglas MBE.
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Notes for Editor:
Key highlights from Democracy Unplugged: the 2016 road to the White House
• 1,200 eligible voters were polled which showed:
o On media coverage – 84% of Americans think news coverage of the election has been low quality; Black Americans most likely to believe that journalists fail to ask the tough questions; Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to think that media is biased.
o On elections – 31% of Americans are embarrassed by the American election system; If their candidate loses, 41 % said they would accept it (mainly Republicans and Conservatives and Independents), 8% would increase their political involvement, 4% will stop following the news, 2% will seek counselling, with BME groups more likely to say they will leave USA
o On making America great again – only 5% say that America isn’t great; 30% said that they were better off than they were 8 years ago when President Obama took office; 37% indicated that they are neutral on the subject which indicates that two thirds of the country either experienced no change or they saw gains under the Obama administration; 1 in 5 Republicans agree they are better off now.
o When was America’s Golden age?: Trump supporters are 2 times more likely to say the 1950s, a time of deep racial injustice and gender inequality; Clinton supporters are more likely to report that America is yet to have a golden age – a hopeful sign that the next generation will create a golden era.
o The great unifier of unhappiness: Who would America send on a one way trip to Mars? – Top choice: terrorists followed by Members of the Congress; 3% said they would send immigrants and 5% said they would send news media.
• Campaign finances:
o $522,656,528 spent by superpacs so far and expected to reach $5 billion.