J. Ann Selzer

President, Selzer & Company and Pollster To The Des Moines Register

Ann Selzer’s life as a pollster spans more than three decades; she claims to have the most linear career track of anyone in the profession. She completed her doctoral work on political communication and polls at the University of Iowa in 1984, spent time in a couple of research shops, joined the staff of The Des Moines Register to run their prestigious Iowa Poll, then stepped out on her own in 1994. 

Her track record for accuracy in election polls—in Iowa and beyond—contributed to her A+ rating from Nate Silver’s influential website FiveThirtyEight.com. It was one of three such grades in an analysis of more than 300 polling firms. In addition to directing the Iowa Poll, she was formerly pollster-in-chief for Bloomberg Politics and a regular contributor on the daily TV show With All Due Respect, hosted by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, authors of the Game Change books on presidential campaigns.     

Selzer has appeared on most of the major news programs, including CBS Evening News and Face the Nation, This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, Morning Joe on MSNBC, PBS NewsHour, various shows on Fox News, CNN, the BBC and National Public Radio, among others. She was also a featured TEDx speech in 2012. Selzer is politically unaligned, which distinguishes her from most competitive polling firms.

Polling puts Selzer in the spotlight, but she attracts a wide range of clients, conducting audience development and strategic research for nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies, including a grocery store chain, advocacy groups, health care organizations, financial institutions, universities, agencies and a technology start-up.

She sings alto with the Des Moines Choral Society, has won a competitive Scrabble tournament, was awarded a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair and was named Woman Business Owner of the Year in 2011 by the Des Moines Business Record.