Louis Harris

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Louis Harris (January 6, 1921 – December 17, 2016) was an American opinion polling entrepreneur, journalist, and author. He ran one of the best-known polling organizations of his time, Louis Harris and Associates, which conducted The Harris Poll.

Life and career[edit]

Harris was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. He attended New Haven High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he graduated in 1942.[1]

Harris began working in the field of public opinion and marketing research in 1947, when he joined the Elmo Roper firm as Roper's assistant. In 1956 Harris left Roper's business and started his own firm, Harris and Associates, Inc.[2][3]

The Harris firm conducted polling for political candidates. In 1960 Harris became the first presidential pollster, working for the campaign of John F. Kennedy, who was elected U.S. President that year.[3]

In 1962, Harris devised a new analysis technique for CBS News to enable the television network to predict the outcome of an election based on computer analysis of voting results from a small number of "key precincts."[4]

In January 1992, Lou Harris retired from Louis Harris & Associates, which had by then been owned by a corporation for some time, and formed his own company, LH Associates.[3]

In 1996, the Gannett Corporation sold Louis Harris & Associates to the Gordon S. Black Corporation, which operated under the name Harris Black International before becoming a publicly traded company, Harris Interactive, in December 1999.[2]

In February 2014, The Harris Poll was acquired by Nielsen.[5]

Harris died on December 17, 2016, at his home in Key West, Florida.[6]


  1. ^ Louis Harris, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, accessed September 26, 2010
  2. ^ a b Our Heritage, Harris Interactive, accessed September 26, 2010
  3. ^ a b c The Superpollsters: How they Measure and Manipulate Public Opinion in America, Booknotes interview of author David W. Moore, by Brian Lamb, May 10, 1992
  4. ^ Bill Leonard (1987), In the storm of the eye: a lifetime at CBS. Penguin. Pages 97-100.
  5. ^ http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-room/2014/harris-interactive-joins-nielsen.html
  6. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (December 19, 2016). "Louis Harris, Pollster at Forefront of American Trends, Dies at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved December 19, 2016.

External links[edit]