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Leading Pollster Peter Hart on Election 2012

hart“Expect the unexpected” were the words Peter Hart, a leading analyst of public opinion in the United States, used to describe the upcoming 2012 presidential election. Hart delivered the Coca-Cola World Fund at Yale Lecture, sponsored by the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, the Yale Law School, and the Yale School of Management, on March 22.

Titled “Election 2012 – America in a Transformational Era,” Hart noted during his lecture that “a lot can happen in the 220 days until the election. Just look at what has happened in the last 220 days.” He added that, for Americans, it is “a period of great insecurity” and “we are really in a transformational era.” He stated that in this transformational era, “the power shift is permanent; winning and losing will be magnified and accelerated; the toughest competition will come from unlikely sources; and that the riskiest position is biggest, best, first, most.”

Hart does not believe that re-election for President Obama is guaranteed. He said it could very well be that a “third party candidate comes into this race” and that the election would be decided by “the middle – folks in the suburbs, independents, Midwest, and white collar workers. Look at how they are pointing and you have a pretty good idea of how things will go.” He also stated “the single most helpful number to look at is the consumer confidence index. The incumbents during a recession have been thrown out.”

The Coca-Cola World Fund at Yale was established in 1992 by the late Roberto C. Goizueta, former chair and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company and a 1953 Yale alumnus, to support intersecting endeavors among specialists in international relations, international law, and the management of international enterprises and organizations. Previous lecturers have included Michael Doyle, Senator Gary Hart, Tom Friedman, Nicholas Kristof, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Senator Sam Nunn, Sadako Ogata, Samantha Power, Mary Robinson, and Muhtar Kent.

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