Grinnell College National Poll Leadership

Barbara A. Trish

Professor of Political Science with a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Ms. Trish is a generalist in U.S politics, with political parties, electoral politics and technology frequently at the intersection of her teaching and scholarship. Her analyses of contemporary politics have been published in a variety of media outlets.

At present, her research agenda focuses on metric-driven/evidence-based campaign politics, and the larger cultural phenomena of tracking, metrics, and data-based decisions and processes.  She is updating her October 2015 paper that addresses the evidence-based presidency.  And, along with her colleague Eliza Willis, she is exploring political polarization at the mass level.

Ms. Trish’s courses, in one way or another, expose students to the methods of empirical and quantitative political science. (She liked data before it became fashionable!) Most of her courses involve a significant research project in which students collect and analyze data.

While at Grinnell, Ms. Trish has had a variety of involvements outside of the department. Among these are the college's Program in Practical Political Education (PPPE) and efforts to enhance quantitative literacy. Grinnell's long-standing relationship with Nanjing University is one of her special interests. Ms. Trish currently chairs the Department of Political Science and is director of the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights.

Peter Hanson

Peter Hanson is an Associate Professor of Political Science and a specialist in American politics. He teaches courses on constitutional law and American political institutions. 

His research explores the politics of the United States Congress. His book Too Weak to Govern: Majority Party Power in the U.S. Senate (Cambridge 2014) illustrates how the majority party's efforts to control the Senate floor have contributed to a breakdown in the annual budget process. His work has been published in Political Research Quarterly and the American Journal of Political Science

Hanson received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2010 and his A.B. from Harvard University in 1995. He served on the staff of Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) from 1996 to 2002. 

Interviews with Hanson have appeared in the Denver Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, New Republic, PBS NewsHour, Minnesota Public Radio, and Colorado Public Radio.

Xavier Escandell

Xavier Escandell's research explores immigration, transnationalism, and race/ethnic relations in the context of Western, Eastern Europe and Latin America. His work has been published in journals such as Ethnic and Racial Studies, Social Science Research, International Migration, International Migration Review, and Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. His ethnographic work in Bolivia and Spain focuses on the socio-cultural integration of Bolivian families in pre and post-recession Spain, their transnational modes of parenting as well as processes of return migration. He has also published work on the contextual factors mediating the worrisome rise of racism and xenophobia in Western European countries and focuses on how demographic, civic and political institutional environments impact perceptions towards migrants. Prior to obtaining his degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005, he was a fellow at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego. At Grinnell, in collaboration with professor David Cook-Martin, he has developed the Global Learning Program course on Cross-Borders, Migration and Refuge in the XXI century, a class with an embedded travel to Mexico, the southwestern USA, Spain, Greece and Germany. He also teaches classes on Global Ethnography and is the director of the Data Analysis and Social Inquiry Lab (DASIL).

J. Ann Selzer

Ann Selzer’s life as a pollster spans more than three decades; she claims to have the most linear career track of anyone in the profession. She completed her doctoral work on political communication and polls at the University of Iowa in 1984, spent time in a couple of research shops, joined the staff of The Des Moines Register to run their prestigious Iowa Poll, then stepped out on her own in 1994.  

Her track record for accuracy in election polls—in Iowa and beyond—contributed to her A+ rating from Nate Silver’s influential website FiveThirtyEight.com. It was one of six such grades in an analysis of more than 350 polling firms. In addition to directing the Iowa Poll, she was also pollster-in-chief for Bloomberg Politics and created the Bloomberg Global Poll, along with polls for the Indianapolis Star and the Detroit Free Press Poll.

Ms. Selzer has appeared on most of the major news organizations, including CBS Evening News and Face the Nation, This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, Morning Joe on MSNBC, various shows on Fox News, The NewsHour on PBS, CNN, the BBC, and National Public Radio, among others. She was a featured TEDx speech in 2012. Ms. Selzer is politically unaligned, which distinguishes her from most competitive polling firms.

Polling puts Ms. Selzer in the spotlight, but she attracts a wide range of clients, conducting audience development and strategic research for nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies, including a grocery store chain, advocacy groups, health care organizations, financial institutions, universities, marketing agencies, and a technology start-up.

She sings alto with the Des Moines Choral Society, has won a competitive Scrabble tournament, was awarded a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair, and was named Woman Business Owner of the Year in 2011 by the local business publication. A full life.