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American Association for Public Opinion Research

Executive Council 2007-2008 Press Release

Top Poll and Survey Research Organization says New Leadership Team Ready to Tackle Industry Challenges

Washington, D.C. – April 23, 2007 – The president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) announced the group’s newly elected and incoming Council members today, describing them as the ideal team to tackle the challenges facing the industry.

“I am excited about the diversity of experience this team brings to the table,” said Rob Daves, AAPOR president and director of polling and strategic research at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  "We have representatives from private companies, academia, non-profit foundations and government agencies."

"We want to serve as a resource for journalists, policy makers, and the general public," said incoming president Nancy Mathiowetz, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. " One of our goals is to provide the information consumers of surveys and polls need so they can distinguish between valid and reliable surveys and those surveys that are conducted simply for entertainment purposes.”

AAPOR is the leading professional organization of public opinion and survey research professionals in the U.S., with close to 2,000 members from academia, media, government, the non-profit sector and private industry. It is committed to the principle that public opinion research is essential to a healthy democracy, providing information crucial to informed policymaking and giving voice to the nation’s beliefs, attitudes and desires.  In order to ensure that it can continue to play this critical role, AAPOR promotes the sound and ethical conduct and use of public opinion research, along with greater public awareness of these standards.  The new AAPOR Council: (full bios follow)

  • President Nancy Mathiowetz, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee
  • Vice President and President-elect Richard A. Kulka, Ph.D., senior vice president at Abt Associates Inc.
  • Past President Rob Daves, director of polling and strategic research at the MinneapolisStar Tribune
  • Secretary/Treasurer Dawn V. Nelson, special surveys branch chief within the Demographic Surveys Division -U.S.Census Bureau
  • Associate Secretary/Treasurer Kate Stewart,  partner in the firm Belden Russonello & Stewart
  • Conference Chair Frank Newport, Ph.D., editor in chief of The Gallup Poll in Princeton, New Jersey
  • Associate Conference Chair Vincent Price, Ph.D., the Steven H. Chaffee professor of communication and political science in the Annenberg  Schoolfor Communication at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Councillor-at-Large Mark Schulman, Ph.D., founder and president of Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas Inc. (SRBI)
  • Councillor-at-Large Scott Keeter, Ph.D., director of survey research for the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC
  • Standards Chair Charlotte Steeh, Ph.D., survey methodology consultant at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Associate Standards Chair Mary Losch,  Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and assistant director of the University of Northern IowaCenter for Social and Behavioral Research
  • Membership/Chapter Relations Chair Carl Ramirez, the Survey Policy and Coordination Group in GAO's Center for Design, Methods and Analysis
  • Associate Membership/Chapter Relations Chair Adam Safir, survey methodologist at RTI International.
  • Communications Chair Mark Blumenthal, editor and publisher of Pollster.com
  • Associate Communications Chair J. Michael (Mike) Brick, Ph.D., survey director and vice president at Westat


Full AAPOR Council Bios

President Nancy A. Mathiowetz, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee.  Her career in survey methodology has included service in the private sector (Westat, Inc.), the federal government (including the Bureau of the Census and the Department of Health and Human Services) and most recently, the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland.  She has served as associate editor for Public Opinion Quarterly and the Journal of Official Statistics, and is coeditor of the volume, Measurement Errors in Surveys.  She has published on various topics related to survey methodology and the assessment of the quality of survey data  in venues ranging from the Journal of the American Public Health Association to the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics.  Mathiowetz earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, a master’s degree in biostatistics from the University of Michigan, and  doctorate degree in sociology, also from the University of Michigan.  

President-elect Richard A. (Dick) Kulka, Ph.D.,  is Senior Vice President at Abt Associates Inc, where he has corporate oversight for the Survey Methodology and Data Capture Group and Strategic Business Development He has had the good fortune of serving on the staff of four major research organizations that span most of the institutional sectors of AAPOR’s membership--the SRC at Michigan (1975-1980), RTI (1980- 1989; 1994-2005), NORC at the University of Chicago (1989-1994) and Abt Associates. He has been involved in the design, conduct, and analysis of numerous statistical surveys on health, mental health, and other social policy issues for over 25 years, while also conducting a broad range of applied research on survey research methods.

Past President Robert P. Daves, is Director of Polling and Strategic Research at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where he directs the company’s strategic market research; he has run the newspaper’s Minnesota Poll since 1987 and has also market research for banks, hospitals and charitable organizations. Prior to his training in public opinion research, Daves worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.   He is the author or co-author of four book chapters about polls and their methodology, and a past editorial board member of the Newspaper Research Journal.  Rob earned an M.A. in journalism at the University of North Carolinaat Chapel Hill and a B.S. in sociology (magna cum laude) at Western  Carolina  University.

Secretary/Treasurer Dawn V. Nelson, is Special Surveys Branch Chief within the Demographic Surveys Division -U.S. Census Bureau, holds a B.A. (psychology) and an M.A. (applied survey research), both from the University of Michigan. She has over 20 years of survey work experience, including commercial research on the client-side (General Motors, GTE) and vendor-side (PriceWaterhouseCoopers), academic (University of Michigan – Survey Research Center) and, most extensively, federal government ( U.S. Census Bureau).

Associate Secretary/Treasurer Kate Stewart, is a partner in the firm Belden Russonello & Stewart, where she directs all phases of survey and focus group research for non-profit organizations and others.  Her areas of research include public attitudes on the environment, civil liberties, and education. Kate received her MS from the Joint Program in Survey Methodology from the University of Marylandand her undergraduate degree from Haverford  Collegein Pennsylvania. In the past, Kate has been an adjunct professor at American  Universityand has taught classes in public communication research. Kate currently serves on APPOR’s Committee on Education, which has responsibility for coordinating the short course offerings at the annual meeting and working on outreach to audiences outside the research community to build the identity and work of AAPOR.

Conference Chair Frank Newport, Ph.D., is Editor in Chief of The Gallup Poll in Princeton, New Jersey.  He is the author of Polling Matters -Why Leaders Must Listen to the Wisdom of the People (Warner Books, 2004) and coauthor with Stuart Rothenberg of The Evangelical Voter. With Alec Gallup, he is the coeditor of The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 2004, 2005 and 2006. His articles and op-ed pieces have appeared in many publications, including the American Sociological Review, Public Opinion Quarterly, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Newport earned a bachelor's degree from Baylor University and a master's and doctorate degree in sociology from the University of Michigan. He taught sociology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, was a talk show host at KTRH Radio in Houston, and became a partner at a Houston market and public opinion research company before moving to Princeton to take his current position with Gallup.

Associate Conference Chair Vincent Price, Ph.D., is the Steven H. Chaffee Professor of Communication and Political Science in the Annenberg  Schoolfor Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his doctorate at Stanford  Universityand was formerly chair of the Department of Communication Studies and Faculty Associate with the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on mass communication and public opinion, social influence processes, and political communication, and his work has been published in five languages. The recipient of awards for his teaching and research, he is currently pursuing studies on the role of online discussion in shaping public opinion. He has been an advisor to the Canadian Election Study, and currently serves on advisory boards for the National Annenberg Election Survey and the American National Election Studies.

Councilor-at-Large Mark Schulman, Ph.D., is a founder and President of Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas, Inc. (SRBI), His work has spanned both market and public policy re­search for government, foundations, universities, and major corporations. Schulman directs all SRBI surveys for Time Magazine and directs many of SRBI’s major public policy surveys. Schulman specializes in public policy, opinion research, segmentation design, and international research. He served for many years on the Decision Desk at Voter News Service, an organization owned by the major television networks and the Associated Press, which projected election outcomes. Dr. Schulman is now a consultant on the ABC News Election Unit Decision Desk. He lectures frequently at universities and conferences on research methods and has taught at several universities, including Rutgers, where he was a Senior Project Director of the Eagleton Institute Poll. His graduate degrees were awarded by the University of Wisconsin, Madison (M.A.) and by Rutgers  University(Ph.D.).

Councilor-at-Large Scott Keeter, Ph.D., is director of survey research for the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC. He was in academia for much of his career, most recently at George  Mason  Universityfrom 1998 to 2002, and previously at Rutgers  Universityand Virginia  Commonwealth  University, where he also directed the Survey Research Laboratory from 1988-1991. Since 1980 he has been an election night analyst of exit polls for NBC News and has provided consultation on survey design and analysis for a variety of organizations. He is author or co-author of papers on non-response bias, telephone survey coverage problems, and other topics in survey methodology, political communications and behavior, and health care. He is also co-author of four books on subjects ranging from political participation and knowledge to religion and politics.

Standards Chair Charlotte Steeh, Ph.D., is a Consultant on Survey Methodology working under contract at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her research has focused recently on the new technologies that are affecting telephone surveys and on finding procedures that will integrate mobile telephones into RDD samples. She has extended her research to include Voice over Internet Protocol. As a member of the faculty at Georgia State University from 1997 to 2005, Charlotte was Director of the Survey Research Laboratory in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, and Associate Research Professor in the Department of Public Administration and Urban Studies. She also directed the Detroit Area Study at the University of Michiganfor six years and lectured in the Department of Sociology. She received her graduate education at the University of Michiganobtaining her doctorate in 1975. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology and published in a variety of journals.  

Associate Standards Chair Mary Losch, Ph.D.,  is Associate Professor of Psychology and the Assistant Director of the University of Northern Iowa Center for Social and Behavioral Research. She received her PhD at the University of Iowawhere she studied attitudes and psychophysiology with John Cacioppo. She worked in the private sector as a survey research analyst at Frank Magid Associates and then returned to UI as Program Director of the newly established Social Science Institute in 1988. A decade later, she became the Assistant Director of the UNI  Centerfor Social and Behavioral Research. She has conducted a host of survey projects including a number in the areas of public policy, health, and health policy. She has published research in survey methods, social science and health disciplines. Her own funded research focuses on maternal and child health behaviors and attitudes. At UI, she served as vice-chair of the social science IRB and served on the committee charged with drafting the institution’s conflict of interest policy. At UNI, she serves on the IRB and chaired the committee from 2001-2006.

Membership/Chapter Relations Chair Carl Ramirez has worked since 1991 at the Government Accountability Office, where he works in the Survey Policy and Coordination Group in GAO's Center for Design, Methods and Analysis. His interests include establishment survey methods, web survey design, and confidentiality and disclosure issues. Carl's undergraduate degree from Princeton was in operations research. He studied for two years in the sociology department at the University of Chicago.

Associate Membership/Chapter Relations Chair Adam Safir is a Survey Methodologist at RTI International. Prior to joining RTI, he served on the research staff of The Urban Institute, Arbitron, and the University of Maryland Survey Research Center. His primary research interests include methods of questionnaire evaluation, the assessment of nonresponse bias, and related topics in health survey methodology. He completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Maryland(B.A. in Sociology, master's degree in Marketing Research).

Communications Chair Mark Blumenthal is the editor and publisher of the weblog Pollster.com (formerly MysteryPollster.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. 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.

Associate Communications Chair J. Michael (Mike) Brick Ph.D., is a Vice President at Westat, where he is Director of the Survey Methods Unit. He is also a research professor in the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland, where he has taught graduate courses since the inception of the program in 1993. Before joining Westat in 1984, he was with the federal government for 11 years. He is an for Survey Methodology (2001- present),  has served on the Editorial Borard for Public Opinion Quarterly (2003-2006), is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. His primary research interests are sample design and estimation for large surveys, the theory and practice of telephone surveys including surveying cell phones, nonresponse and bias evaluation, survey quality control, longitudinal surveys, and multi-mode multi-frame survey design. He has a worked on numerous education and health surveys over the years.