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Pew Researcher to Discuss 2012 Election and Era of Discontent on April 5

Published: April 03, 2012
Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, will stop by The University of Tampa on Thursday, April 5, to discuss a topic on everyone’s mind these days — the 2012 election. Part of the University’s Honors Symposia series, the lecture is scheduled for 4 p.m. in the Vaughn Center, 2nd Floor, Reeves Theater and is free and open to the public.

“We’ve certainly lived through an extraordinary period in American politics the past few years,” said Keeter, noting that the public’s confidence in government is very low. “My talk will examine public attitudes about government and about the important issues facing the country.” Though he won’t offer any predictions on how the election will turn out, Keeter will review where the presidential election stands right now. In particular, he will address the question of how important young voters will be to the outcome.

Keeter taught political science for 25 years at several universities, most recently as chair of the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University. He began consulting with the Pew Research Center in 1993, joining the staff full-time in 2002. Keeter has worked with NBC as an election night exit poll analyst since 1980, looking for patterns in exit poll data and translating that information into stories for the anchors and reporters to use on air.

Part of Keeter’s lecture will be devoted to polling itself. “I also will talk a little about how we know what we know — to address the question of whether polling is accurate and can be trusted,” he said.

Keeter says he hopes people come away from the talk with a more sophisticated and nuanced view of where the public stands on key issues as well as the divisions in the country’s politics. “There are many myths about public opinion right now, and I hope to set the record straight on some of them,” he said.

For more information, contact Carla Sykes, staff assistant for the Honors Program, at or (813) 257-3545.