Emily Swanson is the director of public opinion research at The Associated Press. A member of AP’s polling unit in Washington since 2014, she oversees polls conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, including AP’s role in questionnaire design, data analysis and story development. Swanson also played a key part in the development of AP VoteCast, AP’s pioneering election research survey.
As part of her role guiding journalists in their use of survey data, she helped develop updated polling standards published in a new chapter of the AP Stylebook in 2018, bringing those standards up to date for modern polling methods. The new chapter included the guidance that “poll results that seek to preview the outcome of an election must never be the lead, headline or single subject of any story.”
Swanson also serves on the organization’s election night decision desk, analyzing vote returns, historical data and the results of AP VoteCast to determine when AP officially calls the winner in elections all across the country.
Prior to joining the AP, she was polling director at The Huffington Post, where she ran the site’s first survey research partnership. Before that, she was associate editor of the poll aggregation website Pollster.com.
Swanson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she held her first job in the field of survey research as a telephone interviewer. A native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, she now lives in Washington, D.C. with two cats and more plants than she cares to count.