In 1964, at age 25, Bill Hamilton started a strategy and research firm in Florida, and unknowingly helped create the field of political consulting as we know it. Nearly five decades later, Hamilton Campaigns has helped clients in all 50 states and 22 foreign countries, and continues to be a leader in the industry it helped create.
No doubt, the biggest challenge that HB&S has had to face in its 45+ year history was the death of its founder in 2000. Bill's legacy of innovative excellence is carried on today by an energetic group of professionals, many of whom learned under Bill's guidance.
Bill was an early innovator in applying survey research findings to targeting and message development in political, grass roots, corporate image, and public education campaigns. He developed unique, customized research programs which provide strategic and actionable advice to clients, and many of the standards currently used in the research industry were designed by Hamilton Campaigns.
Bill was a frequent speaker, commentator, and panelist for media, trade associations, research institutes, unions, businesses, and political groups. His presentations cover topics ranging from the U.S. national political mood to polling techniques to campaign planning and strategy. He wrote extensively on party image, international politics, and issue campaigns.
His international expertise had taken him all over the world as a lecturer and trainer. Bill had delivered presentations on modern political research and strategy from Guatemala to Prague and Caracas to Johannesburg. Most recently, he served as principal consultant to winning campaigns in Sweden, the Dominican Republic, and St. Maarten, earning him the first ever "International Consultant of the Year" (1994) award from the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC).
Since the mid-'80s, Bill served as principal or bi-partisan pollster for key industry and advocacy campaigns on health insurance, public power, tort reform, student loans, gaming, and other issue campaigns debated in the public forum.
Bill was appointed by House Speaker Tip O'Neill in 1974 to serve as a Public Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Commission on Administrative Review (Obey Commission), and was a CBS Television News Consultant on the Southern Desk from 1974-82.
A founding member of the AAPC, Bill served as president (1991-92) and chairman (1993-94) of the organization. He was a board member of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC), and beginning in 1987 was a professor in the Graduate Program in Political Campaigning at the University of Florida. He was on the Advisory Boards of Campaigns & Elections Magazine and the Center for National Policy.
His education included a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Florida and post-graduate work in Research Design in Political Science at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).
Donations may be made to the William R. Hamilton Memorial Fellowship Fund at the University of Florida. This scholarship will be offered to graduate students in the political campaigning program from either the Department of Political Science or the College of Journalism. Please make checks payable to the University of Florida Foundation, Inc./Bill Hamilton Fund and mail to:
College of Journalism and Communications
Download a video overview of Bill's career for the 1998 AAPC Lifetime Achievement Award. Download video here.