Professor Peter Hanson in class

Grinnell College National Poll Leadership

Peter Hanson, Director

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.

J. Ann Selzer, Ph.D.

J. 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 the influential website It was one of four 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, and, of course, the Grinnell College National Poll.

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, The NewsHour on PBS, and various shows on Fox News, CNN, the BBC, and National Public Radio, among others. She was a featured TEDx speaker in 2012. Selzer & Company is partnering with NBC News for Iowa caucus polling ahead of the 2024 event, along with The Des Moines Register and Mediacom. Selzer is politically unaligned, which distinguishes her from most competitive polling firms.

Polling puts 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, a technology start-up, and economic development organizations.

She has sung alto with the Des Moines Choral Society, 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.

Advisory Board


Julia Bauder, Social Studies and Data Services Librarian and Director of the Data Analysis and Social Inquiry Lab
Ellen de Graffenreid, Vice President of Communications and Marketing
Karla Erickson, Professor of Sociology
Andreas Jozwiak, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Danielle Lussier, Associate Professor of Political Science
Mattia Wells, Communications and Marketing


Eleanor Corbin ’24
Ben Curran ’25

Valery Lopez ’24
Ori Shaham ’24


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