UCSD professor revealed as member of Obama's 'academic dream team'

Samuel Popkin has consulted for many campaigns

SAN DIEGO - 10News is learning more about a small, under-the-radar group that helped in President Obama's re-election effort.

The so-called "academic dream team" included a local professor.

The New York Times reported that the Obama campaign recruited a group of at least six unpaid academic advisers, calling itself the Consortium of Behavioral Scientists.

Among them was UC San Diego professor Samuel Popkin, who is well-versed on campaigns. He has consulted for many, including Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

Popkin, an expert on polling and communications, was likely called on because of his new book, "The Candidate." It reads like a management bible for political campaigns and covers how to parcel out resources and time and how to use the power of incumbency.

In one section, Popkin describes how victorious incumbents have challenged a Republican-led House or Congress to pass legislation and when it does not happen, to tie them to that failure. That turned out to be an Obama strategy.

Mesa College professor Carl Luna said another strategy the president took to heart was Popkin's emphasis on sincerity.           

"I think this played in the election," said Luna. "Barack Obama came across as more believable, while Mitt Romney seemed like plastic man."  

Popkin, who signed a non-disclosure agreement, told 10News, "I can't speak on this, but I will tell you I was a small foot soldier in a vast army."

It is believed the group also encouraged specific strategies and scripts when it came to volunteers getting out and vote.

Obama's get out the vote campaign is credited as one of his keys to victory.

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