Fox News Pollster John Gorman; Did Research for Carter, McGovern

John Gorman had
John Gorman had "an uncanny ability" to understand voters, Jimmy Carter said in a statement. (Photo Credit: Opinion Dynamics Corp. - Photo Credit: Opinion Dynamics Corp.)
  Enlarge Photo    
Monday, February 18, 2008

John Gorman, 57, a pollster for the Fox News Channel and former opinion researcher for George McGovern's and Jimmy Carter's presidential campaigns, died of congestive heart failure Feb. 10 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Mr. Gorman, who began his polling career as a Harvard University undergraduate in a partnership with Patrick Caddell, won early fame when the firm conducted the research that led to early Democratic primary wins for McGovern, then a South Dakota senator, in 1972.

He and Caddell handled all the polling for Carter in the 1976 presidential campaign, and Mr. Gorman co-wrote a seminal article on voting behavior, "What Have You Done for Me Lately? Toward an Investment Theory of Voting" (1976).

"At a time of extraordinary tumult and change, John had an uncanny ability to see into the hearts of voters," the former president said in a statement. "He was a good man who believed that politics were a means to improve society. He truly was one of the best political minds of his generation."

Mr. Gorman was born in Rockford, Ill., and graduated from Harvard University after forming, with Caddell, Cambridge Survey Research. The business partners split in 1980, and Mr. Gorman operated Cambridge Reports until 1987, when he formed Opinion Dynamics.

He did polling for Massachusetts Democrat John F. Kerry's senatorial campaigns over the years. In addition to working for political candidates, he did research for Fortune 500 companies and academic and nonprofit institutions.

Since 1996, he was in charge of projecting election outcomes for Fox News on election nights.

Mr. Gorman, a resident of Cambridge, Mass., enjoyed classical music and was a past board chairman of the Boston Center for the Arts.

Survivors include his mother, Mary Virginia Gorman of Rockford; three sisters; and a brother.

-- Patricia Sullivan

© 2008 The Washington Post Company