Having Kristen Soltis Anderson in class is something I don’t take for granted. While I have had the pleasure of knowing her for the past five or six years, it’s always nice to hear her speak. We happen to be from the same area of Washington, D.C. What I enjoyed the most was the conversation I had with Anderson before the class Q&A began.
Arriving early to class gave me the opportunity to speak with Anderson. Our conversation started as if we never said good bye six years ago. We discussed Trump’s chances of winning the election.
“In order for Donald Trump to win the White House, he must win North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Iowa and New Hampshire…no Republican has become president without Ohio.” Anderson said.
Anderson was able to give me insight into how she handles debating other TV political panelists such as Michael Moore and Bill Maher.
“While we disagree on some issues that are brought up during the show, I usually can remain calm because we all respect each other as colleagues,” Anderson said.
Anderson gave her childhood story on how she got into polling and data.
“I started playing Sim City 2000 and that was my first introduction into how government works.” she said. “I learned important things such as if you raise taxes too high, people leave your city and if you lower taxes too much, you can’t afford hospitals or police departments.”
She continued explaining her journey to me.
“After playing for hours every day when I was a kid, I learned that the most important piece of data in the game was your job approval rating,” she recalled. “I became a pollster because I learned that job approval was a very important metric of success.”
Anderson and I were able to discuss the latest happenings in D.C. as well as her “30 Under 30 Changing the World” award she received from Time magazine. This award is handed out to people in all fields including culture, sports, and politics. Winners have included Brandon Stanton and Ronda Rousey.
“I always laugh at being named one of the under 30 people who is changing the world, because it reminds me of how young I am,” she said. “When I was still in college at Johns Hopkins, I remember watching the people I admired receiving this award, so it actually made it surreal when I received the award in 2015.”
Anderson and I followed the same political pundits when we both lived in Washington. However, what set us apart was her decision to intern with the National Republican Congressional Committee. She was responsible for making sure sitting members of Congress made calls to very rich donors, asking for donations to the party.
“Forcing members of Congress like Ron Paul to call donors is not a fun task,” she said. “Surprisingly, they hate talking to people on the phone and literally having to beg for donations,” Anderson said.
Before class started, Anderson offered insight into getting involved in polling and data analysis.
“Study Excel inside and out, understand how it works,” she advised. “Pay close attention to what is trending every day and every year and compare what changes each week, month and year.”