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Morin on Mitofsky

Topics: Pollsters , Warren Mitofsky , Washington Post

This morning's Washington Post has the quintessential Warren Mitofsky appreciation. It is absolutely worth reading in full, and I find it difficult to find just one paragraph to excerpt. Here are a few that stand out:

Mitofsky cared deeply, passionately and sometimes explosively about his profession and his place in it. He didn't tolerate fools, poseurs or corporate tools, and he delighted in telling them so. Even his friends agree that he began too many sentences with the words, "Here's why you're wrong . . ." As he said it, he inevitably smiled that off-kilter, crocodile smile that he flashed whether he was pleased or angry.

It was that smile I remember most. We met at a conference 19 years ago, soon after I was hired to be director of polling for The Washington Post. I introduced myself. "Congratulations," he said, smiling broadly. "I've never heard of you."

The piece also includes some discussion of the exit poll controversy following the 2004 elections, and this bit of advice well worth heading by all of us that obsess over political polls:

In a way, Mitofsky fell victim in later life to his own success and formidable reputation. "People are expecting perfection out of the polls and out of me," he said. "They're thinking they're really going to make a decision on the outcome of close races based on exit polls. . . . Exit polls are not that good. They're approximate."

Richard Morin knew Warren Mitofsky well and captured him perfectly. Go read it all.

 

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