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American Association for Public Opinion Research

AAPOR Profile: Frank Newport

As Editor in Chief at Gallup, Frank Newport operates at the intersection of polling and journalism. In addition to serving as the president of AAPOR 2010-2011, Newport co-chaired the Task Force on Public Opinion and Leadership with Robert Shapiro from November 2010 to September 2013. The task force studied how leaders can use data on public opinion in their policymaking, concluding, in Newport’s words, “The public is actually smarter than you think they are . . . they make rational decisions and public opinion can be and should be valuable.”

Newport’s expertise in both survey methodology and sociology gives him unique perspective on the relationship between polling and human behavior. He has a Bachelor’s in communications from Baylor University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan. He became interested in survey research as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he taught methodology and statistics courses. He then worked a news director and talk show host at KTRH Radio in Houston, where a political pollster he interviewed recruited him to a public opinion research firm that eventually became part of Gallup. He was made editor in chief of Gallup in 1990, analyzing polling results in newspapers, live on CNN and now on his blog Polling Matters.

Throughout his career, Newport has tackled contentious political and social issues related to public opinion. He is the author of “Polling Matters: Why Leaders Must Listen to the Wisdom of the People” and “God Is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America,” and a co-author of “Winning the White House 2008: The Gallup Poll, Public Opinion, and the Presidency.” He also appears weekly on the radio show “What Are We Thinking?” produced by Philadelphia NPR affiliate WHYY-FM.

“We’re not just a survey research organization,” Newport says of AAPOR, “but an organization of professionals who are committed to the value of public opinion however we may measure it.”