National Journal and The Atlantic, along with CBS News, bring together leading pollsters to talk about the real story of Election 2012.
Underwritten by: Credit Union National Association, Pfizer, United Technologies, Vote4Energy
John Anzalone has 20 years of experience as a pollster helping candidates, associations and corporations with message development and strategic planning. John has built a firm that helped elect President Barack Obama, U.S. Senators and Congressmen and dozens of elected officials in over twenty states. In the last decade, John has helped beat more incumbent Republicans and taken back more Republican seats than any other polling firm in the nation. John works regularly with the DCCC, DSCC and the DGA and the Washington Post called him one of the "hottest" pollsters in the nation.
Prior to his polling career, Anzalone was a campaign operative who worked for democratic strategists James Carville and Paul Begala in U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg's 1988 campaign. He began his political career as an aide to David Wilhelm (who later became DNC Chairman) at Citizens for Tax Justice and the AFL-CIO, and then went on to manage campaigns in five states.
John grew up in St. Joseph, MI and graduated from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, MI. He is the son of two union members. John is married (Wendy) and has four children: Tade (Georgetown), Gray (11th), Jack (4th), and Lily (2nd).
Joel Benenson is the President of the Benenson Strategy Group, which he co-founded in 2000. He has served as a strategic analyst and adviser to heads of state, senior members of Congress and other national political leaders, business leaders, and major advocacy and charitable institutions.
Benenson offers clients a unique combination of communication expertise and an aggressive analytical approach to produce messaging strategies that work in the most difficult situations. His extensive experience, prior to his becoming a pollster in 1995, includes working as a political journalist for the Daily News in New York and serving as communications director for Gov. Mario Cuomo’s 1994 campaign. He was previously a vice president at the New York ad agency FCB.
Benenson was the lead pollster and a senior strategist for President Barack Obama during the 2008 election, and he continues in that role today. He has also been a pollster and strategist for U.S. senators, governors and mayors from around the country. He played an integral role as a pollster for the DCCC in 2006, when the Democrats won back the majority in the House of Representatives. The team Benenson was on won eight of 10 races, including three in which incumbents were defeated.
During his career, Benenson has worked directly on research projects for some of America’s most prominent CEOs, including Procter & Gamble’s A.G. Lafley, General Electric’s Jack Welch and AOL’s Bob Pittman. He has also helped guide corporate clients through some of the most notable communication challenges in the past decade. He was the lead strategic researcher for Procter & Gamble’s launch of Olestra, the fat substitute; he was instrumental in helping AOL manage its capacity crisis in the late ’90s; and he helped a New York City coalition block Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans for an Olympic stadium in Manhattan.
Benenson is also the co-founder of iModerate Research Technologies, an innovative research company that uses highly trained moderators to conduct real-time surveys among online respondents. These one-on-one sessions provide deep analysis within quantitative surveys.
Ron Fournier is the senior political columnist and editorial director of National Journal. Prior to joining NJ, he worked at the Associated Press for 20 years, most recently as Washington bureau chief. A Detroit native, Mr. Fournier began his career in Arkansas, first with the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record and then with the Arkansas Democrat and the AP, where he covered the state legislature and Gov. Bill Clinton. In January 1993, Mr. Fournier moved to Washington, where he covered the White House and presidential campaigns for the AP.
Celinda Lake is one of the Democratic Party’s leading political strategists, serving as tactician and senior advisor to the national party committees, dozens of Democratic incumbents, and challengers at all levels of the electoral process. Ms. Lake and her firm are known for cutting-edge research on issues including the economy, health care, the environment and education.
Margie is a managing director of Purple Insights, the research division of Purple Strategies. She manages all facets of qualitative and quantitative research for Purple’s clients, including methodological design and strategic analysis. At Purple, one of Margie’s specialties is studying moms. She led the development of Purple Moms—an ongoing exploration of the moms who spend the most time researching and discussing their purchases. She’s also led a bipartisan team studying Walmart Moms—a proven swing voting bloc covered by news outlets around the country.
Bill Plante has served as the CBS News White House correspondent during the administrations of Ronald Reagan (beginning in 1981), Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
During the administration of the first President Bush, he was CBS News' State Department correspondent (1989-92).
Plante's reports are seen regularly on The Early Show, where he is Senior White House Correspondent, and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.
Beth Reinhard is a political correspondent for National Journal and also contributes to 2012 Decoded. Prior to joining National Journal in November, Reinhard was the political writer at The Miami Herald. She covered local, statewide and national campaigns and wrote a weekly column on politics for 11 years. She previously worked at The Palm Beach Post, Education Week and The Home News. Born and raised in Miami, Reinhard received her bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.