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The leading association
of public opinion and
survey research professionals
American Association for Public Opinion Research

Happy Spring!

by Mollyann Brodie, President
placeholderWe are just a few weeks from AAPOR’s Annual Conference in Austin, TX (May 12-15th) and I know all of us are busy preparing for a great week of learning, sharing, and socializing with our colleagues. As part of my own preparation for the conference and giving this year’s Presidential Address, I recently finished reading ALL (yes, all) the past presidential addresses. Those of you who know me know that I am THAT kind of person ­– the kind who needs to read them all to make sure I didn’t miss anything!
When I finished, I was simply awed and amazed. The seven decades of past addresses (all of which were previously published in POQ and now, for the first time, are available in one place on AAPOR’s website) speak volumes about not only the history of AAPOR but the history of our industry and of our nation. Taken together, they tell a profound and compelling story of a diverse set of researchers and practitioners coming together to “influence and be influenced by one another;" to argue and ultimately agree about a set of values and standards; to stand together to face the never-ending challenges and threats to our field; and to educate not only future generations of survey experts but also each other, journalists, policymakers, and the public at large. 
Reading these speeches reminds me that we have faced and conquered challenges many times in our past, and we will again. The TCPA, methodological issues, the advent of new paradigms and new approaches to research don’t threaten our existence but make us stronger, better and more thoughtful than we were before. The public’s distrust in polls (and journalists’ love of writing about polling “misses") is as old as our association, probably as old as our nation. And even appeals for remaining a big tent, welcoming all comers and seeking diverse viewpoints where present during our earliest moments. On Day 1 of AAPOR’s existence, its presidents issued calls to more vigorously, publicly and vocally defend ourselves, our methods and our colleagues; and these calls have routinely been re-examined and restated over time. At various moments throughout history, our leaders reflected where we were as a community and as an industry, and to some extent, as a country. It is fascinating to recall these moments through such passionate and compelling storytelling.

After finishing the set of speeches, I was left with a profound sense of how thorough and comprehensive is our history; of how much we have already addressed; and of how persistent are the issues we face every day. I felt that, in a way, there is nothing new to be said! But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean I won’t be spending a little time on Friday in Austin sharing my own two cents! It was a humbling experience that left me with a tremendous sense of pride and gratitude for being part of a community with a long history of caring deeply about our work and its impact on society, businesses, governments, academic disciplines, and about the history and the future of our nation.

AAPOR is an incredibly unique and special community and I highly recommend you spend some time in your own preparation for Austin with our past leaders. It will be time well spent. View past presidential addresses.
AAPOR President, 2015-2016