What inspires you?

Founding Director, Pew Research Center
Polling, Kohut says, is both an art and a science.
  • Transcript


Question: What inspires you?

Andrew Kohut: What inspires me is to try to answer the question . . . the most important questions about public opinion. Next week the question will be, “What is the public’s reaction to the Petraeus report?” Doing a good job of . . . of . . . of covering the way the public has reacted to what President Bush and General Petraeus have said about the surge and the course of our . . . our future troops . . . troops in Iraq is what . . . what inspires me.

Question: What is the balance you've struck between creativity and scientific rigor?

Andrew Kohut: Well you know this is both an art and a science. I mean the science . . . The scientific aspects of this develop . . . determine the sampling and the analytical . . . some of the analytical statistically . . . statistical analytical tools we use. But in terms of writing the questions and drawing conclusions from the data, that has to do with one’s . . . how good one is as an analyst. We have a lot of material, just as in any scientific adventure. And we have a lot of data. And a good deal of the skill is what we can make out of it; and how coherent, and defensible, and authent . . . replicable a case can we make for conclusions that we come to about public opinion.

Recorded on: 9/14/07