Alumni Magazine

FAL-WIN 2016

The alumni magazine for Franklin Pierce University.

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Page 17 of 83

A t the outset of this wild election cycle, one thing seemed all but certain. Hillary Clinton was widely considered a shoo-in to become the Democratic Party's chosen candidate for the presidency. Sure, Bernie Sanders was mounting a grassroots campaign that gained traction with liberal Democrats, but plenty of people in politics figured that nobody had a chance of blocking Clinton's path to the nomination. "Let's not forget that Hillary Clinton coming into the New Hampshire primary was up by 45 points," says Trent Spiner '07, executive editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader. And then, in August 2015, Franklin Pierce University's Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication released the surprising re- sults of a poll: Sanders had gained so much momentum that he was leading Clinton by 7 percentage points among likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire. The news rocketed around the world. At first, some people in politics didn't want to believe it. But less than six months later, Sanders trounced Clinton by more than 20 percent in the nation's first presidential primary, a result foreshadowed by the Franklin Pierce poll. "It got serious national traction, including on all the na- tional networks," said Spiner, a Mass Communication/Politi- cal Science alumnus. "And it ended up being right. It was the first poll to have the ultimate outcome correct. So good for Franklin Pierce." Score another round of headlines for Franklin Pierce Univer- sity's polling operation. Launched in 1999 by Fitzwater Center faculty and students, it has conducted surveys on candidates and issues not only within the state but also across the nation. From Small Beginnings… What is now a lauded polling enterprise based in a key presidential campaign state started out small, with Fitzwater Center students and faculty running a rudimentary phone bank and recording responses on primitive paper questionnaires. Surveying the Scene Making an Impression TRUMPED UP E ric Jackman is a funny guy. Just ask Donald Trump. By day, Jackman works in the customer service department of a Keene car dealership. By night, he's an entertainer, co-hosting a podcast and sometimes performing in comedy clubs. "I've been doing comedy and impressions most of my life," he says. He graduated from Pierce in 2009 with a Political Science degree. As he watched this year's wild presidential race develop, Jackman had an inspiration. "I put a wig on," he recalls. "I put bronzer on. I put on the navy suit with the red tie and I dressed up like Trump." Now he's parlayed his interest in politics and comedy into a blossoming career as a Donald Trump impersonator, imitating the Republican presidential nominee's distinctive voice and bombastic personality in videos and public appearances that have won him international exposure. "Yep, I got his bodily motions down," Jackman brags. "I've got him pretty good. A lot of people are really blown away by it." Still, he didn't expect what happened when he took his act to a Trump rally in Manchester the night before the New Hamp- shire primary. As he wandered around the arena taking pictures with laughing spectators, the candidate himself spotted Jack- man and called him out from the podium. "Oh no!" Trump yelled, pointing at Jackman in his blond wig. "Tell me this isn't Trump! Look at this guy! Melania, would you have married this guy?" Jackman's impersonation has popped up on Comedy Central, numerous newspaper articles, and even on a German television network. "My goal is to get on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Jackman says. "Jimmy Fallon does a Trump impres- sion, but as Trump would say, 'It's very low energy and it's very disgusting!' So I want to go on there and upstage him in front of the whole world." Someday, Jackman hopes he'll have to decide whether to give up his day job and make a full-time living in comedy. "It's been a great response from people and I've gotten some great media coverage," he says. "I'm just trying to keep it going." — Doug Miller RAVENINGS 16 PIERCE / FALL 2016 Ravens Polling Grabs National Spotlight

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