Gift Enables Change at Polling Institute

Board of Trustees Chairman Rich Crist ’77 P’05 P’09 and his wife, Cindy P’05 P’09, have given $300,000 to support the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.

By: Meghan Kita  Tuesday, September 17, 2019 11:42 AM

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Student supervisors Prianka Hashim '19 and Abigail Edwards '19 work with Professor of Political Science Chris Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.

The Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion (MCIPO), often referred to on campus as “the polling institute,” has a national reputation, earning an “A” grade from the analytical site FiveThirtyEight as well as recognition from CNN and other major media outlets. Professor of Political Science Chris Borick, founder and director of the MCIPO, oversees a large team of students who manage many of the day-to-day operations of the institute.

“Supporting Chris Borick’s work and being able to strengthen and expand it really broadens the Muhlenberg name and the recognition of the College outside of its traditional northeastern stronghold,” Rich says. “And, the institute provides our students an experience not available at many other schools.”

“The resources provided by this generous gift from the Crists will help the institute transition into its third decade of operation,” Borick says. “The institute structure and methods have worked well for the last two decades, but the scope of work and the changing landscape of polling require significant changes for the MCIPO to move forward. These changes include a transition away from primarily telephone-oriented methods to probability-based online platforms and changes in staffing to allow this to take place.

“The gift comes at a pivotal time for the institute as we ramp up our research efforts associated with the 2020 presidential election,” Borick continues. “Pennsylvania is poised to be the epicenter of the presidential race, and the MCIPO will be highly engaged in polling both the primary and general elections.”