Mervin Field

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Mervin Field
Born (1921-03-11)March 11, 1921
New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States
Died June 8, 2015(2015-06-08) (aged 94)
Mill Valley, California, United States
Occupation Pollster
Known for Founder, Field Research Corporation

Mervin Field (March 11, 1921 – June 8, 2015) was an American pollster of public opinion in the state of California.[1]


Field was born in 1921, the youngest of five children,[2] in New Brunswick, New Jersey.[3] He grew up in Princeton, New Jersey and graduated from Princeton High School in 1938. His parents were Jewish emigrants from Russia.[1] His subsequent formal education was limited to a few months each at Rutgers University night school, the University of Missouri and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. His first experience with survey research was in his high school junior year, when in a chance occurrence he was introduced to the polling pioneer, Dr. George Gallup. Field’s first survey was in determining student preferences for his high school senior class president.[4] Prior to World War II, Field worked for Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) and the Gallup Poll in Princeton, New Jersey.

He married Virginia Fallon in 1949, and later divorced. Field was married to Marilyn Hammer from 1957 until her death in 2006.[2]

Field died in 2015, of natural causes.[5]

Field Research Corporation[edit]

The Field Research Corporation (FRC) is a commercial consumer and opinion research practice operating locally, regionally and nationally.

Field Poll[edit]

The Field Poll is an independent, nonpartisan public opinion news service, with a focus on California. As of late 2009, it has published more than 2300 reports. It relies on financial support from newspapers and television stations, the University of California, the California State University system, and various non-profit foundations, not from political candidates or interests.

Since 1956, the Poll has deposited its survey data with the University of California and California State University campuses, to make them available for scholars, media, and public policy makers. It is a unique and rich archive that is used in political science, journalism. sociology, and survey research methodology courses.


Field has received two awards from the American Marketing Association, one in 1956 for his “Field Index of Advertising Efficiency” and another in 1971 for his “Outstanding Service to the Profession of Marketing Research.”[citation needed] In 2001, The Market Research Council (New York) named him to its Hall of Fame.[citation needed]

He was the recipient of the 1979 American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Award for “exceptionally distinguished achievement”. The citation accompanying the award said in part that he "has been the chief architect of and a successful campaigner for a contemporary code of standards for public opinion research….”[citation needed]

In 1996, he was awarded an honorary degree of LL.D by California State University. The citation said in part….”Mervin Field is a highly respected leader within his profession…and in the course of his career he has become a trusted advisor to academia, civic associations, governmental institutions and the business community….”

He held offices in the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), and helped establish the National Council of Published Polls (NCPP) and is one of the founding directors of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO).

He was a past member of the Advisory Council of the Institute of Governmental Studies; University of California, Berkeley; and for a period was a Regents’ Professor at Berkeley.


  1. ^ a b Barabak, Mark Z.; Woo, Elaine (June 8, 2015). "Mervin D. Field dies at 94; creator of California opinion gauge now called Field Poll". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 13, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Nagourey, Adam (June 11, 2015). "Mervin Field Dies at 94; Took Pulse of California as Pollster". New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2015. 
  3. ^ Halstead, Richard. "Mervin Field parlayed poker winnings into respected opinion research firm". Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ Rogers, Paul. "Field Poll shutting down at end of year", Santa Cruz Sentinel, December 9, 2016. Accessed October 2, 2017. "His first encounter with polling was a chance meeting with George Gallup, founder of the Gallup Poll. Intrigued, Field took a survey of fellow students at his school, Princeton High School, in the late 1930s about their preference for class president. Field eventually worked for the Gallup Poll in Princeton, New Jersey."
  5. ^

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