An Educational Laboratory

Marist Poll results may generate worldwide attention, but at its core, it has always been a unique educational program providing Marist College undergraduates an opportunity to develop their skills and understanding of public opinion. By participating in survey research, students learn in an interdisciplinary fashion about politics, communication, psychology, history, marketing, and technology.

Beyond data collection, students take coursework, participate in seminars with outside experts, and pursue internships. In this way, students can look under the hood to gain an advanced understanding of the critical factors shaping public opinion today:

  • Survey methodology… sampling, questionnaire construction, data analysis, and report writing
  • Survey content… the range of contemporary issues that public opinion enlightens from politics and elections to health care, economics, and living in turbulent times.

Coursework at the Marist Institute for Public Opinion focuses on public opinion, survey research, and political communication. There is also a series of one-credit experiences that each deal with a single key aspect of the survey research process… interviewing, the survey instrument, modes of data collection and analysis, and the media. For students interested in pursuing their understanding of survey research in greater depth there’s also a concentration in public opinion. Students who opt to make this rigorous course selection part of their undergraduate program often pursue careers in the field including political consulting, market research, public polling, or academia.

Internships in the media or at survey research facilities, for students in their Junior or Senior year, is a value-added experience. These experiences enhance student awareness of the field, the value choices professionals need to address, and help students clarify career choices.

Students also participate in regular seminars with experts from the world of politics, polling, and the press. Through it all, students emerge with an understanding of what is in essence a contemporary definition of what a liberal arts education is all about… a blend of knowledge, experience, and technology.

Marist polls are newsworthy but Marist College students, first and foremost, enjoy a front row seat in the arena of public opinion. That’s our commitment today just as it was in 1978 when the Marist Poll began as a classroom project.

Speaker’s Forum

There’s always something going on at The Marist Poll, and we’re not just talking about our surveys!

Every semester, a select group of political and media professionals is invited to conduct seminars at the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. It’s all part of our mission to offer our students and other members of the Marist community different perspectives on polling, politics, and the press.

Recent speakers have included:

  • Joel Benenson, Chief Pollster and a Senior Strategist for President Barack Obama and Founding Partner and President of Benenson Strategy Group
  • Ron Brownstein, Editorial Director for the National Journal and Senior Political Analyst for CNN’s election team
  • Jay DeDapper, Political Blogger and Host, Buzz60 Politics
  • Beth Harpaz, Author and Associated Press Editor
  • Joe Lenski, Co-founder and Executive Vice President, Edison Research
  • Steve Thomma, Government and Politics Editor, McClatchy News Service

Stay tuned.  We’ll be updating our list of upcoming speakers as their appearance dates are confirmed.

Our previous guest speakers have included:

  • Robert Bellafiore, Founder, Stanhope Partners
  • Bill Cunningham, Managing Director, Dan Klores Communications
  • Murray Edelman, Former Editorial Director, Voter News Service and Former President of The American Association of Public Opinion Research
  • Howard Fineman, Editorial Director, the Huffington Post Media Group, NBC News Analyst, and author
  • Dan Forman, Managing Editor, WCBS/Ch. 2
  • Steven Greenberg, President, Steven Greenberg Public Relations
  • Jay Townsend, Political Consultant, The Townsend Group