The final tally is in. JON KROSNICK, a Stanford professor of communication and of political science and, by courtesy, of psychology, has won the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). Bestowed upon Krosnick on May 17 at the association’s annual banquet in Anaheim, Calif., the tribute recognizes outstanding contributions to public opinion research.
The award plaque describes Krosnick as an “academic polymath with a restless intellect and boundless energy” whose scholarship is elite and groundbreaking. According to the AAPOR, “His work during the past three decades has produced essential insights into questionnaire design and survey research methods.”
Krosnick’s career has been devoted to understanding and improving survey research. His focus on accuracy is aimed at making policymakers educated consumers of available data. In particular, AAPOR states, his 15-year exploration of public attitudes on climate change has been “path-breaking and influential.”
Krosnick later described the award banquet as a “bear hug” by a peer group that he considers family. “I am stunned by this award because it is profoundly meaningful to me,” he said. The survey researchers that fill the ranks of AAPOR are “my go-to people,” said Krosnick, who is the director of the Political Psychology Research Group.
“AAPOR has inspired me, validated me, nurtured me and taught me,” he added.
For Krosnick, it has been both a meaningful and challenging career. “Doing the above has not always been popular, and the process has involved its share of frustrations and disappointments.”
GARY LANGER, who served on the award committee, said Krosnick’s contributions to survey research were “unparalleled.”
“By my lights, he’s the most imaginative, most ethical, widest ranging, deepest thinking and hardest working survey researcher of our times,” said Langer, president of Langer Research Associates and former longtime director of polling at ABC.Krosnick, in his acceptance speech, applauded a “big team of collaborators” over the years.
“The most important of these have been the super-talented students I’ve been able to work with: graduate students, undergrads and postdocs here at Stanford. I am deeply thankful to Stanford for giving me the opportunity to work with such great people and to provide such a supportive and vibrant intellectual environment,” he said.
Krosnick is the author of six books and more than 150 articles and chapters. He has also conducted surveys on voter decision-making, passionate attachment to political issues, the influence of the news media, Americans’ attitudes toward climate change and the environment, and many other topics.
Krosnick graduated from Harvard University in 1980 with a BA in psychology. He received both an MA in 1983 and a PhD in social psychology in 1986 from the University of Michigan, and came to work at Stanford in 2004.
A native of Philadelphia with a mother who was an opera singer and a father who was an opera aficionado, he learned to play piano at age 6 and continued playing percussion instruments from elementary school on. Today he is a drummer in the electric jazz band Charged Particles.
—CLIFTON B. PARKER