The Elon Poll is losing director Hunter Bacot.
On Twitter today, Bacot announced he’s leaving Elon. Starting August 1st, he'll be the new Director of the Institute of Government at Univ. of Arkansas Little Rock.
“Will keep watch on NC politics from there,” Bacot tweeted.
The Elon Poll started in 2000, but after Bacot's arrival in 2005, its profile rose, attracting national attention as North Carolina’s political arena heated up in 2008. Bacot was quoted in the NYT, Real Clear Politics, and several other national media outlets.
Bacot, a political science professor, is also a noted expert on polling methodology, and his thorough understanding of state politics has made him a sought-after news analyst here in NC.
"It's a good professional move for me," Bacot said. But as a "born and bred" Tar Heel, he said, "it was a really tough decision."
Elon’s poll is unlike many others in the state. First, it doesn’t select for likely voters – it’s a true public opinion poll. Second, it doesn’t do contract work for campaigns, and tends to avoid horserace questions entirely, focusing instead on larger policy issues.
Bacot says the key tenet of the Elon Poll is to "always give people a voice, and give all people a voice."
"I think that's being lost in these contentious political times - the idea that elected officials should serve everyone, all the people, not just the ones that voted for them," Bacot said.
Bacot said the Institute of Government at UALR has a survey research center and program, too. They currently do contract polling for the CDC, but he's hoping to expand the program into state policy issues as well, like Elon's survey.
Elon Political Science department chairwoman Sharon Spray was not available for comment today on Bacot's departure.