1

Election consultants for hire in Egypt

An Egyptian man casts his vote at a polling station in Mansura, 120 kms north of Cairo, on March 19, 2011 as voters got their first taste of democracy in a referendum to a package of constitutional changes after president Hosni Mubarak was forced to relinquish his 30-year grip on power last month in the face of mass street protests.

Kai Ryssdal: The Libyan rebels got a big win today. Diplomatic, though, not military. The Obama administration has decided the Transitional National Council that the rebels set up is a political body that should have have U.S. support. Support -- not full diplomatic recognition, just quite yet.

Libya's still a long way from a political or diplomatic solution, but Egypt right next door has already voted on rules for the presidential campaign that'll be held in the fall. The Egyptian experience with elections under Hosni Mubarak didn't include the words "free" and "fair," so over the next couple of months, candidates and voters there will have a lot to learn.

As we look at how American businesses might fit in to the new economics of the Middle East, Marketplace's David Gura reports on the U.S. contribution to democracy: political consultants.


David Gura: A few weeks ago, Egyptians voted on changes to their constitution that paved the way to new elections. Harvard public policy professor Tarek Masoud followed it closely, and it got him thinking.

Tarek Masoud: How are you actually going to organize the electoral process? How are you going to make sure that when people go and vote, they have the ability to vote and they believe that their vote will actually be reflected in the final vote tally?

Those are questions Ken Feltman has wrestled with for decades. He's a political consultant who has worked with candidates around the world.

Ken Feltman: I want to know: What do the voters want? What are they saying? What do the people want?

In the U.S., candidates have relied on outside help for decades, to do research and polling, and to develop strategies and ad campaigns. It didn't take long, Feltman says, before political consulting became another American export.

Feltman: We were the large democracy, and therefore we were supposed to know how to do things.

Today, election consulting is an international industry, headquartered in Washington but with hubs in France and Argentina. There's reliable work in Europe and Latin America, and now there are new prospects in the Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt.

Feltman: There are many people trying to get in and be hired, and they've run over thinking that their briefcase is their credentials. The people doing the hiring don't know what's on their checklist.

Part of the reason is that, for the first time, Egyptians will get a chance to vote in an election where the outcome hasn't been decided in advance. Consultant Ben Goddard is open to working for a campaign, but he knows there will be challenges.

Ben Goddard: Egypt has never had elections. Where are you going to find an Egyptian who knows how to run a campaign?

Goddard has been in politics for almost five decades. He says his mission is always the same: to persuade people to a certain point of view, and to make them express that point of view at the polls.

Goddard: Now, the way it's executed needs to be adapted for the culture of each individual nation.

Goddard says he picks clients carefully. Nothing is more valuable to a consultant than his reputation -- and his record.

Goddard: Nobody wants to take on a for-sure loser, but then usually a for-sure loser isn't going to be able to afford us anyway. So, often times that just sorts itself out.

Political consultants work on contract. They can charge hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on how much they're doing and where they're working. But in some places, Goddard says, they're lucky to get paid anything.

Goddard: One of the things you learn very early in international consulting is that you get the money upfront.

There are opportunities for consultants to work for Egyptian campaigns, but Professor Tarek Masoud says there are also risks.

Masoud: I think that any political candidate who gets on the phone and hires, you know, James Carville, and if that became known, that would severely limit their appeal and credibility and popularity with the Egyptian population.

Consultants say that, in their line of work, confidentiality is key, and as Ben Goddard puts it, their goal is to stay "as invisible as possible."

In Washington, I'm David Gura for Marketplace.


Ryssdal: Tomorrow: education abroad -- American colleges in the Middle East.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.
Log in to post1 Comment

Hi, My name is Jeffery Pont and I am curious to know if you have any Email Marketing or Email Lists requirement for your company to increase your ROI. We are a Global Database Company with Multi Channel Marketing Services, Specialized in B2B lists, B2C lists, Direct Marketing Lists, Consumer Lists, Tele-Prospecting Lists, Email Lists, etc. across the Globe for all major Industry verticals with a data pool of over 20 Million records with OPT-IN and double verified Emails. Our list comes with complete information such as: Company Name, URL, First Name, Last Name, Title, Opt-in Email Address, and Mailing Address with City, State, Zip Code, Country, Phone Number, Fax Number, Industry, and Revenue Size & Employee Size Let me know if you are interested in any of the below mentioned Pre-Packaged Global Email Lists: INDUSTRY COUNTS INDUSTRY COUNTS INDUSTRY COUNTS American Business List 10 Million Doctors & Physicians 300,000+ Retail List 100,000+ American Consumers List 60 Million Dentists 50,000+ Real Estate List 120,000+ Australian Business List 150,000 Finance Banking List 250,000+ Technology Companies List 80,000+ Australian Consumers List 400,000 Insurance 60,000+ Telecom List 25,000+ Middle East List 12,000+ Automotive List 20,000+ Sports & Entertainment List 10,000+ Canadian Executives List 250,000+ HR & Recruiting List 300,000+ Biotechnology List 7,500+ Canadian Consumers List 2 Million Veterinary List 10,000+ Health Care Executives List 250,000+ Europe Executives List 25,000+ Transportation Logistics List 25,000+ Legal Services List 40,000+ Europe Consumers List 350,000+ Agriculture List 10,000+ Manufacturing List 100,000+ UK Executives List 400,000+ Hospitality List 65,000+ Sales & Marketing Executives List 500,000+ Fortune 1000 companies List 20,000+ Non-Profit Org. List 100,000+ Media and Publishing List 40,000+ African Executives List 12,500+ IT Executives List 150,000+ Pharmaceutical List 100,000+ Asia Pac Executives List 25,000+ Aerospace & Defense List 5,000+ Education List 65,000+ Indian Executives List 500,000+ Oil, Gas & Energy List 15,000+ Government & Public Sector 12,000+ Food and Beverage List 10,000+ Construction & Materials List 35,000+ Business Services 100,000+ Advertising & Marketing Email List 75,000+ Wholesale List 25,000+ Computer, Hardware & Software List 100,000+ Our Primary Services Include � Email Lists, Email and Data Appending, Reverse Appending, Data Cleansing, Email Marketing, Data Entry Projects and many more. Customized Email List � We can help you in building & sourcing contacts for your specific target criteria such as: Geography, Industry, Titles if any etc, so that I can come up with the counts for the same. Appending � If you've built a database of your customers, and want to start to communicate with them via email, but you don't have their email addresses then we will allow you to build your online customer database by giving you your customers most current email address. We�d like to help you grow your business. Thanks and waiting for your reply. Jeffery Pont |Business Development Executive | Phone: 1-302-353-4442 | Email: jeffery.pont@infinityintellectual-mail.biz / jefferypontinfinity@gmail.com /jeffery.pont@infinity-intellectual.com Website: www.infinity-intellectual.com � Before printing, think about the environment TO unsubscribe from our Mailing list please reply REMOVE to jeffery.pont@infinityintellectual-mail.biz ************************************************************************ NOTICE *********************************************************************** This email message, including any attachments, may contain important information exclusively provided for intended recipients or authorized representatives of the intended recipients. Any dissemination of this e-mail by anyone other than an intended recipient or authorized representatives of the intended recipients is strictly prohibited. If you are not a named recipient or authorized representatives of the intended recipients, you are prohibited from any further viewing of the e-mail or any attachments or from making any use of the e-mail or attachments. If you believe you have received this e-mail in error, notify the sender immediately and permanently delete the e-mail, any attachments, and all copies thereof from any drives or storage media and any printouts of the e-mail or attachments. ******************************************************************************************************************************************************

With Generous Support From...