I’m excited to announce today that Emily Swanson is taking on a new role at AP as director of public opinion research.This new position, and Emily’s promotion to it, is part of AP’s ongoing and increasing commitment to using the best of data journalism and social science practice to understand America, its people and the choices they make about how they live their lives. That includes our work at the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and our groundbreaking AP VoteCast election survey, which sets the new standard for understanding the electorate and the forces shaping the American democracy.
Emily joined AP five years ago as a news survey specialist, and a short time later, became our resident expert and sole in-house resource on polls and surveys. In that time, she’s written and reported on the results of dozens of AP and AP-NORC surveys – including work in the 2016 campaign that illustrated clear divides among voters and striking opinions about then-GOP nominee Donald Trump.In the wake of the 2016 election, Emily rewrote the AP Stylebook’s guidance on polls and surveys. In 2018, she joined the AP decision team, working alongside decision editor Stephen Ohlemacher to make the race calls that form the core of AP’s election night report.Over the past few years, Emily also worked closely with AP’s partners at NORC at the University of Chicago to develop AP VoteCast, replacing the archaic science of exit polling with a modern and innovative method of understanding who votes and why. The development of VoteCast ensures the decision desk and our newsroom, as well as our election service customers, will have all the information they need to confidently tell the story of Election Day for years to come.In her new role, Emily will continue to be based in Washington and report to me, collaborating as always with Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace and the Washington bureau, as well as Data Science and News Applications Editor Troy Thibodeaux and the data journalism team. She will oversee the polls and surveys team: Ohlemacher, reporter Hannah Fingerhut and our soon-to-be-hired data visualization developer. Stephen will continue to serve as head of the decision desk, directing the team of race callers and decision analysts who tell the world every election night who will next lead the nation.