Jennifer Benz is a Principal Research Scientist and Deputy Director of The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Benz is a political scientist whose research focuses on the connection between public policy and citizen engagement. Benz’s research includes numerous studies measuring awareness, understanding, and perceptions of public policy issues among the general public and targeted constituencies. She has a successful track record of distilling and packaging complex research for different audiences including journalists, policy makers, and the mass public.
Benz has managed and conducted survey research on a variety of topics including the public’s priorities and attitudes toward government, race and ethnicity, public health and health care, economic issues, news and media, international relations and defense, and environmental and energy policy. With training and experience in political science, social psychology, and public health, Benz’s research uses an interdisciplinary approach in both theory and method, and much of her research complements survey research with qualitative and experimental methods. Benz has also published research on the relationships between interest organizations, PACs, and public policy, with a particular focus on state-level politics and policy. Prior to joining the AP-NORC Center, Benz worked as a Research Scientist for NORC’s Public Health research department where her project work focuses on issues in health disparities, access to primary care, and the dissemination and evaluation of comparative effectiveness research (CER).
Her research has been published by Georgetown University Press, Health Affairs, State Politics and Policy, Publius, and the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, among others.