Michael Traugott

Michael Traugott Wins Roper’s 2024 Mitofsky Award for Excellence in Public Opinion Research

May 10, 2024

Michael Traugott, Research Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Social Research, has been recognized with the 2024 Warren J. Mitofsky Award for Excellence in Public Opinion Research.

“I am deeply honored by this recognition from the Roper Center Board of Directors,” said Traugott, who was a friend and colleague of the award’s namesake, Warren Mitofsky.

The award announced by the Board of Directors of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University recognizes “Traugott’s lifetime contributions to the field of public opinion, particularly his role in advancing the theory and methods in studying public opinion across numerous contexts; upholding the standards by which public opinion research is conducted; and promoting the understanding and education of public opinion research among the public, the media, and policymakers.”

Michael Traugott is a political scientist who has published extensively in the areas of campaigns and elections, voting behavior, political communication, the use of polls to construct news, and survey methodology. He is active in the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR), serving as president of both organizations. In 2010, he received the AAPOR Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Service, and in 2012 he received the Helen Dinerman Award from WAPOR for particularly significant contributions to survey methodology. He also served as president of the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research (MAPOR). He is a frequent resource for journalists interested in discussing American political campaigns and government operations.

“Traugott’s role in promoting education about public opinion research is particularly important at a time when there have been questions about the accuracy and validity of polls,” the Roper Center noted in its announcement.

Traugott was instrumental in establishing AAPOR’s Education Committee and served as a member of the committee from 2006 to 2016. His book, The Voter’s Guide to Election Polls, co-authored with Paul Lavrakas, is now in its sixth edition. It uses an accessible question-and-answer format to educate the public on how polls are used by campaigns and media organizations and about the latest technologies used for data collection and analysis

The award honors the life and work of Warren J. Mitofsky, an innovator in survey researcher and a longtime chair of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.

Traugott and Mitofsky shared many interests, Traugott said. “I especially enjoyed a semester he spent at Michigan as the Marsh Visiting Professor in the Department of Communication, which afforded us the opportunity for many conversations about the role of media polls in election coverage, as well as a weekly tennis game.”

The award ceremony will be held Nov. 14 in Washington, D.C.

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