Scene from movie Dazed & confused of students standing, sitting, and laying on and inside an orange convertible car

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Movies often serve as perfect time capsules, offering snapshots of what life was like in an earlier time. Take Dazed and Confused. The movie is set in late seventies Texas and focuses on groups of ... Read Now >


12/13: McClatchy-Marist Poll

What will President Barack Obama’s legacy be?  Americans share their views in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.

To read the full McClatchy article, click here.

11/9: Closing the Chapter on 2016

The Marist Poll would like to congratulate the hundreds of students who took part in Marist polls over the last eighteen months. Their talent, dedication, and hard work contributed to The Marist Poll’s ability to weave an accurate and informative narrative about campaign 2016.

When so many other polls ran into difficulty measuring this unprecedented contest, The Marist Poll continues to be the gold standard in public opinion research. In fact, the final McClatchy-Marist Poll of the United States was spot on!

The McClatchy-Marist Poll predicted a close and competitive contest:
Election results: Clinton +.7
Poll: Clinton +1

As Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion noted in that final McClatchy-Marist Poll, “Although Clinton and Trump are separated by the slimmest of margins, the Electoral College can present a very different picture. Close popular votes can, but do not necessarily, translate into tight battles for 270 electoral votes.”

The election was upended with FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress further investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server. And, The NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll identified the profound shift in public opinion. The final three NBC News/Wall Street
Journal/Marist Polls showed:
Election results: Trump +4
Poll: Trump +5

Election results: Trump +5.9
Poll: Trump +1

Election results: Trump +9
Poll: Trump +9

Once again, The Marist Poll staff and students demonstrated why they are the most energetic and astute polling team in the nation.

Thanks to all who made this possible!

Lee & Barbara


11/2: Passing the Baton

By Dr. Lee M. Miringoff

My class this semester on “The Presidential Campaign of 2016” at Marist College is a group of talented and enthusiastic undergraduates bringing their fresh perspective to voting, this unprecedented presidential election, and the state of American democracy.  It warms the political scientist side of my heart to interact with this current, idealistic, imaginative, and global-reaching generation of students which is about to inherit a messy and cynical world.

But, the pollster in me knows that voters throughout the United States are frustrated by the gridlock in government and discouraged by a presidential campaign that has sunk to the lowest common denominator.  Regardless of whether Trump or Clinton wins the White House, they will be the most unpopular president to take office that we have ever had.

This year’s story began with the primaries during which each party had to deal with a strong anti-establishment candidate.  It is said that Republicans typically fall in line and Democrats fall in love.  Well, in 2016, the GOP has been slow to fall in line behind Donald Trump, and the candidate with whom Democrats fell in love is not their nominee.  So, voters in both parties have had to drop down on their wish list, and for many it has been a tough pill to swallow.

To make matters even more difficult for voters in 2016, there are ongoing issues of corruption and money swirling around the Clinton candidacy. And, among many other concerns, the GOP candidate claims the election is rigged, and he may not accept the results of the people’s vote on Election Day unless he wins.  The boundaries of political dialogue have certainly been stretched this year.

Elections are supposed to be about issues, policies, and a mandate to move government forward.  Who would seriously argue that this campaign has been remotely issue focused?   Who would legitimately claim that the winner can make a strong case for moving the country in a specific policy direction?  Will there be enough of a kick from voters so that Washington moves away from the gridlock that has increasingly characterized our politics?

I became a political scientist and public opinion pollster because of my faith in public opinion, and a belief voiced many decades ago by V.O. Key that voters make the right decision if presented with accurate information.  During my lifetime (starting with my high school years during the tragedies of 1968 and my first vote for president as a college student in 1972), much of what makes the American experiment unique in the history of civilization has eroded. This time, so much more is being threatened.

It is not only government and elections that are under the microscope.  The institutions of religion, education, corporate business, the media, and others are taking their lumps, as well.

In class, I am eager to reference Abraham Lincoln’s comment that public opinion is the only legitimate sovereign in a democracy.  I hope the millennial generation pushes us baby boomers aside and works to restore the element to our democracy with which we have seemed to have lost touch.  It’s really the only path to a better future.

Lee M. Miringoff is Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion and is a faculty member of the Political Science Department at Marist College.

9/23: McClatchy-Marist Poll

With just days until the first presidential debate, where does the contest stand among likely voters nationally?  Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.

To read the full McClatchy article, click here.

8/4: McClatchy-Marist Poll

Where does the presidential contest stand nationally?  Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.

To read the full McClatchy article, click here.


7/20: McClatchy-Marist Poll

What do registered voters nationally think of President Barack Obama’s job performance?  Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.

 To read the full McClatchy article, click here.

Complete McClatchy-Marist Poll tables and methodology

7/18: Beyond the Bounce

By Dr. Lee M. Miringoff

The GOP and Democratic political conventions are finally upon us.  They will be scored by the media for tone and how well each side makes its case to Americans.  No sooner will the gavel end these proceedings for campaign 2016, then those of us in the public opinion community will try to measure how the public reacted. But, beware the post-convention bounce.  If history is any guide, there is no guarantee that there will be a significant change in the presidential contest as a result of the conventions, or that it will be long-lasting.

Relying upon public opinion polls to draw accurate conclusions about the relative success of each convention can be tricky. There is no one, proven formula to anticipate what is a “good,” post-convention bounce, and subsequently, what “good” or “bad” means for the future of each campaign.

In fact, there are many factors which give meaning to post-convention polls.  First, both Trump and Clinton are well-known to the public even if neither one is particularly well-liked.  The spectacles in Cleveland and Philadelphia are likely to have important and lasting moments, but the public is not likely to learn much new about either presidential candidate.

Second, history tells us that the underdog is more likely to receive a significant post-convention lift, but it is, more times than not, short-lived.  Barry Goldwater and Walter Mondale are two examples that come to mind.  But, with candidates at the top of each 2016 ticket that are already household names, in a campaign that has had its unprecedented share of surprises, who exactly is the underdog?

Third, the most recent and impactful convention was 1992.  Bill Clinton rose to the occasion.  But, there were other factors at work including the unexpected withdrawal of Ross Perot as the convention came to a close.

Fourth, like the last two quadrennial gatherings, these conventions are back-to-back.  For political junkies, this may give the appearance of one two-week political fix and reduce the potential for a significant change in the contest.

This is not to say that the conventions will be irrelevant.  Unforced errors, in what are increasingly well-scripted events, can still occur.  Clint Eastwood’s chair comes to mind.  Also, according to the latest McClatchy-Marist Poll, both Trump and Clinton have plenty of work to do.  Trump needs to secure supporters of the other 16 candidates during the primaries.  Right now, Trump has the support of only 60% of voters who said they backed someone else in a GOP primary.  Clinton still needs to convince Sanders’ backers that she is the right choice.  Clinton only attracts 57% of those who “felt the Bern” during the nomination fight.

Of course, the reaction of the national electorate to the conventions obscures how voters in each state (and therefore, the Electoral College totals) view the four nights of the political hoopla in Cleveland and Philadelphia.  The NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll conducted pre-convention surveys in seven key battleground states.  They show very competitive races in the Midwest states of Iowa and Ohio and a Clinton advantage in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  Pre-convention, Trump and Clinton both have negatives that outpace their positives.

What should you look for post-convention?  Have there been any changes in Americans’ impressions of the candidates?  Has the political dialogue changed, and which candidate’s agenda is ruling the day?  Does their respective selection for Vice President suggest leadership, consensus, or pandering?  Does it reflect an appeal to their base supporters or an opportunity to reach out to undecided voters?  Do the candidates score differently as tickets post-convention than they did pre-convention when matched one on one?  The plan is to revisit these states after the shows move on to see whether voters have changed.

Whatever the result of the conventions, one thing we do know for sure.  Most Americans believe this is an election that will truly make a difference depending upon who wins or loses.  73% of Americans express this opinion today compared with only 60% who shared this view just four years ago.

So, will there be a bounce? Will it be long-lasting? Or, just a blip.  Stay tuned.

7/16: McClatchy-Marist Poll

What do voters nationally think of the potential vice presidential picks of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton?  Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.

To read the full McClatchy article, click here.

Complete McClatchy-Marist Poll tables and methodology

7/15: McClatchy-Marist Poll

How do Democrats and Republicans view the nation’s most pressing issues?  Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.

To read the full McClatchy article, click here.

Complete McClatchy-Marist tables and methodology

7/14: McClatchy-Marist Poll

Do registered voters wax nostalgic?  Would they prefer former President Bill Clinton be the Democratic nominee rather than Hillary Clinton?  Would voters prefer former President Ronald Reagan be the Republican nominee rather than Donald Trump?  Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.

To read the full McClatchy article, click here.

Complete McClatchy-Marist Poll tables and methodology