FEATURE23 February 2023

Will Johnson in seven

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Features Impact North America People

In the latest in Impact magazine’s In Seven series, we speak to Will Johnson, chief executive at The Harris Poll, one of the longest-running US surveyors of public opinion, board member of Tutoring Chicago and member of The Economic Club of Chicago and the Young Presidents’ Organization, about the future of the polling industry and the current political climate in the US.

Will Johnson

1. What attracted you to the polling industry?

My background has always been in research. My interest in polling dates back to my undergraduate studies, when I researched the emerging political significance of the millennial generation. Most associate polling with elections and campaigns, but its usefulness transcends politics. Overlaying insights extracted from polls across other data, such as observed behaviour, allows us to dig even deeper into several underlying social phenomena.

2. Is the polling industry held in high regard by the public in the US?

We recently surveyed public trust in the polling industry, and while public opinion polls aren’t often a go-to information source for Americans, most ( 59%) still consider them to be trustworthy. More importantly, polls – compared with other information sources, such as national, local and social media – are considered among the most trustworthy by their users. Nearly nine in 10 consumers of public opinion polls find them trustworthy, matched by local news users ( 87%) and exceeded only by people the respondents ...