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 Omero is president and founder of Momentum Analysis, a Democratic public opinion research firm based in Washington, D.C. The firm counts among its clients the Democratic National
Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, EMILY’s List, members of Congress, non-profit organizations, and labor unions. She is an award-winning pollster, recently named
one of “50 Politicos to Watch” by Politico, and a “Mover and Shaker” by Politics Magazine.
Prior to launching Momentum Analysis in 2001, Ms. Omero was a vice president at The Mellman Group, where she worked on the firm’s research for non-profits such as World Wildlife Fund, the Trust for Public Land, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the League of Women Voters. She also handled the firm’s research for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee as well as for numerous Democratic candidates such as Senators Maria Cantwell, Tim Johnson, and Tom Daschle.
Ms. Omero is a professionally-trained focus group moderator who has personally conducted nearly a thousand focus groups and qualitative discussions. She is also a member of the American Association of Political Consultants, where she has been a frequent judge for the group’s annual awards for campaign advertising. Ms. Omero graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied psychology and research methodology.
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.