My goal is to provide the best research-based commentary on the subject of religion, politics, loneliness, and community. The newsletter serves as an extension of the polling work I do at the Survey Center on American life, a project of the American Enterprise Institute. My goal here is simple: to inform and educate. I’ve been a public pollster for my entire career, and what animates this work has always been to advance our collective knowledge on topics that are not frequently featured in public polls, such as dating and friendship.
Less Opinion and More Facts.
Whether it’s social media, newsletters, or blogs Americans have more opportunities than ever to share their opinions. That’s good. As a public opinion researcher my livelihood is based on the willingness of strangers to share their experiences and perspectives. But too many opinions are shared by too few people. We are inundated with opinions from politically active people. But there are large swathes of the country we rarely hear from. Public opinion is one remedy. Polling—at least in theory if not in practice—can lift up marginalized voices, and offer perspectives infrequently featured in social media or news reports.
I hope this work encourages people to become more thoughtful, and a lot more curious about each other. After nearly 20 years of doing this work I’m still regularly surprised at what Americans believe, and why they do. In learning about not only what other people think about current events, but how they live and what really matters to them we can became better acquainted with our fellow citizens.
I’ve been a public pollster my entire career. That means my work is meant to be read by anyone and everyone with an interest in these topics. I received a PhD in Government from Georgetown University, but my research interests have always been broader than politics. I started my polling career at the Pew Research Center, cofounded the nonprofit polling organization, PRRI, and in 2020 I launched the Survey Center on American Life. Since then, we have conducted polls focused on friendship, politics and dating, social isolation and loneliness and religious decline in family life—topics not regularly featured in media polls, and political surveys.