Associate Professor of Political Science
College of Liberal Arts
"It is fair to say that the Survey Center has become part of the ‘mental infrastructure’ of New Hampshire, generating vital knowledge for a wide variety of actors in the Granite State."
Andrew Smith is the goodwill ambassador every college needs.
Literally around the globe, people know the work of Smith and the UNH Survey Center. His expertise and analysis on New Hampshire and national politics, especially during presidential election season, are in constant demand from news outlets around the world.
With a strong emphasis on producing research that is clear and concise, Smith and the Survey Center have a reputation for providing government and business leaders, private organizations, and fellow university researchers with reliable information about public opinion on policy matters ranging from seat belt use and smoking to school funding and health care. A recent “poll of pollsters” found that Smith’s colleagues ranked him the most reliable in the state.
“It is fair to say that the Survey Center has become part of the ‘mental infrastructure’ of New Hampshire, generating vital knowledge for a wide variety of actors in the Granite State,” says Dante Scala, chair of the political science department. Scala notes that Smith also spends considerable time on the local lecture circuit sharing his work and knowledge with the greater public. “In short, Andrew Smith is a premiere goodwill ambassador for the University, both nationally and internationally.”
For Smith, that’s what it is all about.
“The Survey Center is a great example of the New Hampshire way,” he says. “Public opinion polling informs research at UNH and policy at the local and national levels that benefits us all. That same research allows students in the classroom as well as nonprofit organizations throughout the state to have the most up-to-date information available.”
Smith, also an associate professor of political science, talks proudly about how research that comes out of the center makes change that matters, rattling off many examples, including the careful evaluation of Service Link, a county-based information and referral program for the elderly and adults with disabilities that resulted in more people being able to stay home and take control of their lives. Another success was the United Way’s 2-1-1 New Hampshire, which connects callers to information about critical health and human services available in their communities. That project involved multiple UNH departments and the leadership of Smith as a member of the nonprofit organization’s board of directors.
Smith says partnerships like these make organizations more efficient and effective. “You don’t always have to build a whole new organization,” said Smith. “It’s about bringing together university research with business, not-for-profit, and government. That then feeds back to research, providing real data, and that informs teaching.”