Institute of Politics

Joel Benenson

Democratic Pollster & Strategist for President Barack Obama’s 2008 & 2012 Presidential Campaigns

  • Spring 2022 Pritzker Fellow

  • Seminar Series: "The Art & Science of Polling"


Joel Benenson, founder and CEO of the Benenson Strategy Group, is one of the leading political and corporate strategists in the world. Benenson led the award-winning research and polling programs for President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns and is the only Democratic pollster in history to have played a leading role in three winning presidential campaigns. Throughout his career as a pollster and strategist, he has been a trusted advisor to heads of state, political leaders, Fortune 100 companies and their CEOs, and leaders of major advocacy and nonprofit institutions.

Named "Pollster of the Year" by the American Association of Political Consultants and ranked among the "most powerful" people in D.C. by GQ, Benenson has left his mark at the highest level of politics. In addition to his role with President Obama, Benenson served as Senior Strategist to Hillary Clinton. He also worked on President Bill Clinton’s team during the 1996 race.

Benenson’s communications expertise, which led him to be a member of three presidential debate teams, has also made him a go-to consultant for C-suite executives seeking communications advice on both internal and external challenges. In the private and advocacy sectors specifically, his nuanced analytical approach, and ability to craft deft, winning strategies has powered organizations such as AARP, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Football League, Toyota, and Procter & Gamble.


"The Art & Science of Polling"

The first part of this seminar series, led by Joel Benenson, will explore how political research and polling is not only conducted but used effectively. We’ll look at different ways of gathering information and explore how politicians should use research - and how they shouldn’t.

The second half of this seminar series will be led jointly by Joel Benenson and Neil Newhouse. In these seminars, we'll focus on developing and conducting a poll on disinformation, as well as analyzing and publishing the results.

Have Questions?

Newsletter Form

Stay Informed

Our emails are the best way to keep up-to-date on all of our events and programming.