Peter Enns: Where Polls Live Forever


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Jan 31 2018 42 mins  
If you’ve ever wondered: Where do public polls go to die, today we bring you the answer: They don’t. They live on forever at the Roper Center. One of the things I love most about doing this podcast is the opportunity to talk with incredibly smart people in fields where, under normal circumstances, our paths might not cross. I just finished talking with one of them.Peter Enns is Executive Director of The Roper Center at Cornell University, where he is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Government. The amount of data housed at the Roper Center will blow your mind: It’s the largest public opinion archive in the world with some 25,000 public opinion polls and nearly every survey question ever asked in the U.S. – more than 700,000 of them. And as you’ll hear from Peter, this matters for all kinds of reasons, perhaps most importantly to give us a clearest possible sense of how American views have evolved – in big ways and really nuanced ways – over time on our biggest issues: Immigration, criminal justice, religion, politics, and more. We discussed all of these.More background on Peter. His personal specialty is criminal justice. He’s author of “Incarceration Nation: How the United States Became the Most Punitive Democracy in the World.” He also received a 2017 Emerging Scholar Award from the American Political Science Association, which is presented to the top scholar in the field within ten years of her or his doctorate.