No. 4: Patrick Murray

Education Power 50

Murray is a legitimate political celebrity. The Monmouth University poll, which he runs, is highly regarded as a measure of public opinion and is one of the surveys the Democratic National Committee uses to determine which of its candidates deserve to be included in presidential primary debates.

He is also an astute and articulate political analyst and routinely appears on television news programs covering national elections. Murray’s sterling reputation was only enhanced after the Monmouth Polling Institute released a survey over the summer suggesting that former Vice President Joe Biden was no longer the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Many analysts immediately decided that the poll was an outlier — that is, an anomaly in an otherwise steady public opinion environment — a judgment that seemed to be confirmed by two subsequent polls released days later.

Murray didn’t flinch, issuing a statement acknowledging the unusual results and explaining why Monmouth publicized the results. “I understood when we released our poll that the picture it painted diverged from the others,” he said, while explaining that Monmouth had used the same methodology in its five previous polls on the Democratic field. “In the end, we must put out the numbers we have,” he continued. “They should always be viewed in the context of what other polls are saying, not only as it applies to the horse race, but also for our understanding of the issues that motivate voters in their decision-making process.”

An example of candor that actual politicians should emulate.

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