Curt Togstad

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science & Public Administration


The problem examined in this thesis is the one of whether or not the Prairie Campaign for Economic Democracy and Kennedy caucus members at the 1980 State Democratic-NPL Convention were political amateurs who placed issues and ideology above winning. The Prairie Campaign for Economic Democracy and the Kennedy for President Caucuses were statewide organizations. In this thesis the caucus members are hypoth esized to be amateurs who, when compared to the convention delegates as a whole, had the following characteristics: 1. Were more likely to be under 35 2. Had higher education 3. Perceived issues differently 4. Had lower party loyalty 5. Were more likely to bolt the party

The goal is to determine if these caucuses were a cadre of younger, more educated party members motivated more by ideological concerns rather than party identification and thus, more likely to bolt their party in elections.

The method used to examine this problem was a survey mailed out to all 380 members of these two caucuses. A total of 208 responses were received, allowing determination of the demographic, ideological, and behavioral characteristics of these caucuses.

Some hypotheses were supported and others were not. First the Prairie Campaign and Kennedy people were both younger than the delegates as a whole but were not shown to possess higher education than the dele gates as a whole. The third hypothesis which concerned perception of issues were not supported except when the issue of abortion was examined. The hypothesis that the Prairie Campaign and Kennedy people possess less party loyalty than delegates as a whole was supported. The fifth hypo thesis was that they are more likely to bolt the party than delegates as a whole and would then vote for a third-party presidential candidate. This was shown to be true as one-fourth of the Prairie Campaign and Kennedy delegates voted for a third-party presidential candidate as compared to 12% of the delegates as a whole. Thus, the Prairie Cam paign and Kennedy caucus delegates by meeting four of the five hypo theses were shown to be amateurs.