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American Association for Public Opinion Research

AAPOR Announces Awards for Public Opinion Research Innovation, Lifetime Achievement, Book

Winners Include Pollster.com, Harry O’Neill, Michael Delli Carpini and Scott Keeter, authors of “What Americans Know About Politics and Why It Matters”

Anaheim, CA -- May 21, 2007 – The leading professional organization of public opinion and survey research professionals announced its annual awards today, honoring the founders of Pollster.com, the brains behind TESS, and a man who directed polling for former President Nixon .

The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) made the presentations at its annual conference in Anaheim, attended by more than 900 research professionals.


The AAPOR Award is the Association’s lifetime achievement award, given annually for an outstanding contribution to the field of public opinion research. This year’s winner is Harry O’Neill, who has played a major role in virtually every aspect of the field’s professional development.

“He combined his experience as a commercial sector researcher with a commitment to raising the level across the field,” said AAPOR past president Rob Daves, who chaired the committee that chose the award winner. And he was doing industry-leading research when many of the more well-known researchers weren't even out of high school.”

“Harry has always had the ability to step back and provide an objective view of the industry, even if it wasn’t what we wanted to hear.“

When Mr. O’Neill retired in 2005 , he was vice chairman, Roper Public Affairs and Media, Gfk, NOP, where he had been on the staff since 1988. He came to Roper after serving as vice chairman of Opinion Research Corporation, where his work included directing polling for the White House during the Nixon administration.

He is a past chair of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations and the Research Industry Coalition; he was president of the National Council on Public Polls from 1985 to 1994. He served on the board of directors of the Marketing Research Institute International and the Council of Marketing and Opinion Research . He chaired the NCPP’s Polling Review Board, established by the National Council on Public Polls to monitor the conduct and reporting of polls that are publicly released. He was the founder and was editor from 1989 to 1993 of the AMA publication “Marketing Research: A Magazine of Management &Applications.”



These awards recognize accomplishments in the fields of public opinion and survey research; this year, the founders of two influential projects received the award.

1. Arthur Lupia and Diana Mutz, for the Time-Sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences project (TESS)

Researchers have made advances in social science through national opinion surveys since the early days of opinion polling. These experiments are an important means to study cause-and-effect relationships in public opinion research, with evidence for the external validity provided by the use of representative national samples. But the ability to do such experiments has been hindered by the costs of fielding experiments in national surveys and by the long lead-time needed to apply for and receive large-scale grants for individual projects.

Arthur Lupia and Diana Mutz designed the Time-sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences project (TESS) to overcome these barriers. Funded by the National Science Foundation, it has provided individual researchers and teams a way to propose and conduct, on a competitive basis, experiments in ongoing nationally representative telephone and Internet surveys. These proposals are peer reviewed; researchers receive extensive comments and advice; and the approved experiments are programmed, pre-tested, and implemented quickly. To date this has allowed over 200 researchers from psychology, economics, sociology, political science, communications, law, business, and public health to conduct more than 100 experiments. TESS makes these researchers’ proposals, data, and brief descriptions of research results freely available for public use, including use in the teaching of survey and experimental design.

“The work of Arthur Lupias and Diana Mutz in building this project has contributed a great deal to the advancement of the social sciences,” said Councillor-at-Large Robert Shapiro, who chaired the committee making the awards. “We all benefit from this kind of increased access.”

TESS was developed with the support and collaboration of the Directorate of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences at the NSF, Knowledge Networks, the Indian University Survey Research Center, Pawandeep Lamba, and TESS’ fifty associate principal investigators from a wide range of disciplines.

About the award winners:

Diana Mutz was appointed as Samuel A. Stouffer Professor of Political Science and Communication at The University of Pennsylvania in 2003. She is also the director of the Institute for the Study of Citizens and Politics in the Annenberg Public Policy Center at The University of Pennsylvania, and serves as a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Prior to Penn, she was a professor at The Ohio State University (1999-2003), and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She has written numerous books and articles on subjects ranging from media and politics, including the award winning Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative versus Participatory Democracy, (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and Impersonal Influence: How Perceptions of Mass Collectives Affect Political Attitudes (Cambridge University Press, 1998). She is also the co-editor of the volume Political Persuasion and Attitude Change (University of Michigan Press, 1996), and a former editor of Political Behavior. Her research articles have appeared in many prestigious journals including the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science and Public Opinion Quarterly. Since 2001, Mutz has served as co-PI of Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS), a National Science Foundation-supported initiative that promotes methodological innovation across the social sciences.

She received her B.S. from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Arthur Lupia is the Hal R. Varian Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan and Research Professor at its Institute for Social Research. His research clarifies how information and institutions affect policy and politics, with a focus on how people make decisions when they lack information. Drawing from multiple scientific and philosophical disciplines, his work provides insights on voting, civic competence, legislative-bureaucratic relations, parliamentary governance, and political communication.

His books include The Democratic Dilemma: Can Citizens Learn What They Need to Know? (1998), Elements of Reason: Cognition, Choice, and the Bounds of Rationality (2000), Stealing the Initiative: How State Government Reacts to Direct Democracy (2001), and Positive Changes in Political Science: The Legacy of Richard D. McKelvey’s Most Influential Writings (2008). His articles and editorials have appeared in many respected journals and newspapers. He lectures on social and scientific topics to many different audiences, having given over 200 lectures in 13 countries.

As an original and regular contributor to NSF’s EITM (Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models) summer program, he has helped to develop curricula that show young scholars how to integrate empirical and theoretical methods into effective research agendas. Now, as a Principal Investigator of the American National Election Studies (www.electionstudies.org), he is helping to introduce many new procedural and methodological innovations to one of the world’s best-known scientific studies of elections.

He is the recipient of many honors and awards including: The 1998 NAS Award for Initiatives in Research from the National Academy of Sciences, the 1996 Emerging Scholar Award from the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Elections, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior section and fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1999-2000) and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (2006-2007). He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2003.

2. Mark Blumenthal and Charles Franklin for Pollster.Com

Modern day public opinion polling in the United States has come a long way: from the early Gallup, Roper, and Crossley in-person surveys of the 1930s to the proliferation of polls conducted by telephone beginning in the 1970s, through today’s movement toward increasing use of the Internet. The vast numbers of surveys today include not only those conducted by public pollsters, but also by mass media organizations, academic survey centers, interest groups, political parties and consultants, and others. This expansion of polls and the reporting of them has created an overload of often confusing information about public opinion; this comes at the same time that an increase in partisan conflict has led to highly contentious and strident debates about what policies the public supports and which political candidates they prefer.

“Pollster.com manages to provide an extraordinarily well-informed and accessible forum on public opinion research and poll results,” said Councillor-at-Large Robert Shapiro, who chaired the committee making the awards. “Its reach extends well beyond the survey research community, broadening the level of knowledge among a larger public on survey methodology and the interpretation and reporting of survey findings.”

Pollster.com has also extended existing, and developed its own, graphical methods for comparing poll results and for summarizing multiple polls and opinion trends. Its reports and commentaries provide transparency, as the data dictate, for multiple and conflicting interpretations. With funding and technical support from Polimetrix, Pollster.com, provides a non-partisan source for the latest polling results, for state-of-the-art information about survey methodology, and for the latest debates and conflicts in the world of polling..

About the award winners:

Mark Blumenthal is editor and publisher of the site Pollster.com, which provides daily running commentary that explains, demystifies and critiques political polling. Since September 2006, the site has over one million unique visits resulting in over 4.1 million page views and won numerous plaudits from respected bloggers and journalists. Pollster.com is in part an outgrowth of Blumenthal's Mystery Pollster weblog, which he started in September 2004.The National Council on Public Polls awarded MysteryPollster a special citation for its work explaining polls to the Internet reader.

Blumenthal has twenty years of experience in public opinion research at the DC-based political polling firm, Bennett, Petts and Blumenthal and before that as an analyst with Hickman-Maslin Research and Greenberg-Lake: The Analysis Group. He earned a Political Science degree with high honors from the University of Michigan and completed course work towards a Masters degree at the Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM) at the University of Maryland. He has served as a guest lecturer at the Communications School at American University, the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University and at training seminars sponsored by EMILY's List, the Democratic National Committee and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

Charles H. Franklin is co-developer of Pollster.com and Professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He specializes in the analysis of polling and elections using
sophisticated statistical methods and graphical displays. His current research focuses on the accuracy of polling and the impact of campaign events and advertising on vote choice. He is also an election night consultant and statistical analyst for ABC News.

In addition to teaching undergraduate courses on elections and on quantitative reasoning at Wisconsin, Franklin teaches graduate level statistics courses at Wisconsin, the University of Michigan, the University of Oxford and the University of Essex. His Ph.D. is from
the University of Michigan.

Franklin is past president of the Society for Political Methodology and a current or past member of the governing boards of numerous academic organizations.

III. AAPOR Book Award

This award recognizes influential books that have stimulated theoretical and scientific research in public opinion or influenced understanding or application of survey research methodology.

The 2007 winner is “What Americans Know About Politics and Why It Matters,” by Michael Delli Carpini and Scott Keeter, 1996.

“This book epitomizes the rich and powerful results that can emerge from the extensive mining of survey archives in combination with innovative, original data collection,” said committee chair Tom W. Smith.

About the authors: 

Michael X. Delli Carpini, Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania (1975) and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (1980). Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty in July of 2003, Professor Delli Carpini was Director of the Public Policy program of the Pew Charitable Trusts (1999-2003), and member of the Political Science Department at Barnard College and graduate faculty of Columbia University (1987-2002), serving as chair of the Barnard department from 1995 to 1999. He began his academic career as an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Rutgers University (1980-1987). His research explores the role of the citizen in American politics, with particular emphasis on the impact of the mass media on public opinion, political knowledge and political participation.

Scott Keeter is the director of survey research for the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC. He is co-author of four books, including A New Engagement? Political Participation, Civic Life, and the Changing American Citizen (Oxford University Press), The Diminishing Divide: Religion's Changing Role in American Politics, (Brookings Institution Press), What Americans Know about Politics and Why It Matters (Yale University Press), and Uninformed Choice: The Failure of the New Presidential Nominating System (Praeger). His other published research includes articles and book chapters on survey methodology, political communications and behavior, and health care topics.

Since 1980 Keeter has been an election night analyst of exit polls for NBC News. During 2001-2002, he was chair of the Standards Committee of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

From 1998 to 2002 he was chair of the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, and previously taught at Rutgers University and Virginia Commonwealth University, where he also directed the Survey Research Laboratory from 1988-1991.

IV. Seymour Sudman Student Paper Award   

The winner of this award, given to an exceptional student paper in any field related to the study of public opinion, broadly defined, or to the theory and methods of survey research, including statistical techniques used in such research, is Mathieu Turgeon. Now an assistant professor at the University of North Texas, his winning submission is “Just Thinking: Attitude Authenticity and Citizen Competence.”

His paper explores the relationship between thought, and the development of authentic attitudes, arguing that ‘just thinking’ more about a topic helps people develop attitudes that are more reflective of their interests and values.