Pollster and pundit Frank Luntz was keynote speaker at Michigan Political Leadership Program’s major fundraising event, helping return the 27th annual dinner to its capital city roots. During the evening, he taped an edition of Michigan Matters with host, producer and MPLP 2022 emcee Carol Cain. See CBS' Michigan Matters.
Luntz, an influential analyst and leading consultant on political, corporate and business communications, spoke during the April 20 dinner at the Lansing Center.
The event raises essential funds for one of Michigan State University’s best-known programs for leaders seeking to run for political office. MSU’s Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) is one of a handful of political leadership development programs nationally.
“Frank Luntz is one of the nation’s most exciting and insightful analysts of American politics,” said Matt Grossmann, director of MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR.) MPLP makes its campus home at IPPSR.
“His focus group research is pioneering and his ability to sharpen and focus communications has reshaped our political language and landscape,” Grossmann added.
The annual event raises essential funds to support 24 men and women – 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans – competitively selected for fellowships. MPLP is one of the only nonpartisan political leadership programs in the country, and has trained more than 700 people since its 1992 founding.
Among MPLP graduates are Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Dr. Aaron Payment Tribal Chair, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and former Detroit Mayor Kenneth V. Cockrel Jr. Nine House and six state Senate members serve together in the Michigan Legislature.
MPLP alumni also hold positions in the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan House and Senate, state university boards and city, county, village and school offices.
Class of 2021 Fellows include two Michigan county commission chairs, a filmmaker, a police chief, a legislative director and a commercial risk advisor. See the list of current MPLP Fellows.
The program draws interest from across the state. See all MPLP graduates here.
Monthly MPLP training sessions include hands-on activities, campaign and fundraising simulations, community and corporate tours and leadership-building exercises. They hear from the state and nation’s top elected, media and business leaders.
Luntz has earned scores of accolades for forecasting U.S. attitudes and opinions and predicting the outcome of political races nationally,” Grossmann added.
Time magazine named Luntz one of “50 of America’s most promising leaders aged 40 and under,” and Newsweek magazine identified him as No. 24 on its American Power Elite survey. Business Week named him one of the four “top research minds.”
He pioneered the “instant response” focus group technique, and for more than a decade, was the “focus group czar” for Fox News. He has conducted focus groups for all three broadcast networks, two of the three cable news channels and PBS, as well as for The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Times of London, the LA Times, and the BBC.
He served for five years as a news analyst for CBS News, focusing on corporate and business communications, before moving to ABC News in 2017. He was a consultant to the NBC hit show The West Wing as well as the popular CBS drama Bull.
He is the author of three New York Times bestselling non-fiction books about language, persuasion strategies and public opinion.
He taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University and George Washington University. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in history and political science and earned a doctorate from Oxford University.