Patrick Hayward "Pat" Caddell (born May 19, 1950) is an American public opinion pollster and a political film consultant who served in the Carter White House, and in many other presidential campaigns.

Life and career

Patrick Caddell with Jimmy Carter in November, 1977

Caddell was born in Rock Hill, South Carolina and graduated from Harvard University.[1] He has worked for Democratic presidential candidates George McGovern in 1972, Jimmy Carter in 1976 and 1980, Gary Hart in 1984, Joe Biden in 1988, and Jerry Brown in 1992. He also worked for Colorado Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff in 2010.[2] Caddell persuaded Jimmy Carter to focus in 1976 on the "trust factor", rather than divisive political issues in the 1976 campaign, a strategy which led, narrowly, to victory. The Arkansas political scientist and pollster Jim Ranchino declared the then 26-year-old Caddell "the best pollster in the business."[3] According to researchers, Caddell had wide influence in the Carter White House, and was the chief advocate of what later became known as Carter's "malaise speech".[4]

Caddell has served as a consultant to various movies and television shows, most notably the movies Running Mates, Air Force One, Outbreak, In the Line of Fire, and the serial drama The West Wing. He was also a marketing consultant on Coca-Cola's disastrous New Coke campaign.[5]

In 1988, Caddell left Democratic consulting firm Caddell, Doak and Shrum after what the Washington Post described as an "acrimonious lawsuit."[6] Republicans would often cite Caddell's tirades against the Democratic Party when they spoke on the floor of the House and the Senate.[7][8][9]

His analysis on polls and campaign issues often puts him at odds with the current leadership of the Democratic Party. He has been criticized by Media Matters for America and Salon columnist Steve Kornacki for predicting negative consequences for the Democratic Party.[10][11] He has called environmentalism "a conspiracy 'to basically deconstruct capitalism.'"[2]

Caddell is a regular guest on the Fox News Channel, and he is listed as an official 'Fox News Contributor'. This has earned him the label of a "Fox News Democrat" by critics such as liberal opinion magazine Salon.com.[2] He has also frequently appeared on the conservative website Ricochet.com discussing politics.[12][13][14]

According to Slate,[15] Caddell was involved in identifying people willing to participate in the 2012 anti-Obama documentary The Hope and the Change, produced by Citizens United.

In the 2016 election cycle, Caddell exerted considerable influence in his capacity as advisor to Republican contributor Robert Mercer, who was a major fundraiser for the successful candidacy of Donald Trump.[16]

Campaign style

According to a 1987 profile in the Washington Monthly:

"Caddell believes the key to winning contemporary elections is appealing to 'alienated' voters—that ever-growing group of mostly younger voters who are not easily identified as liberal or conservative and don't trust government, politicians, or the parties. You can't lure these voters with programs and stands on specific issues, so the theory goes. Rather, you must remain as uncommitted as they are. You lure them by attacking that which caused their alienation: the Establishment. Even if he were inclined to help his candidate address the nation's substantive problems and articulate a coherent package of solutions, he'd have trouble."[5]


  1. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1987/11/12/us/washington-talk-political-operatives-remember-pat-caddell-boy-star-so-capital-s.html?pagewanted=all
  2. ^ a b c Pareene, Alex (November 22, 2010). "Pat Caddell: The pollster and ultimate Fox Democrat". Salon. 
  3. ^ The Blytheville, Arkansas, Courier News, June 11, 1976, p. 3
  4. ^ Heath, Diane J.: "Staffing the White House public opinion apparatus", "Public Opinion Quarterly, Smith, R: "Size of the Moon", 62:2 (1998)
  5. ^ a b Glastris, Paul The powers that shouldn't be; five Washington insiders the next Democratic president shouldn't hire, Washington Monthly (October 1987)
  6. ^ OnPolitics, Washington Post: The Media Barons: Top Political Admakers. April 30, 2000.
  7. ^ "Was Time Magazine Playing Politics with Its 2006 Person of the Year Cover?". Fox News. Retrieved 2016-08-30. 
  8. ^ "Bad News for the Kids..." Fox News. Retrieved 2016-08-30. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-06-18. Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  10. ^ Andrew Seifter; Jeremy Cluchey (September 16, 2004). "Who is Pat Caddell?". Media Matters. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Steve Kornacki (2010-03-12). "Pat Caddell predicting ruin for Democrats – again". Salon. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Ricochet Podcast #64: Hey Now Ricochet". Ricochet.com. 2011-04-09. Retrieved 2016-08-30. 
  13. ^ "Ricochet Podcast #39: The Shrinking Violets Ricochet". Ricochet.com. 2010-10-14. Retrieved 2016-08-30. 
  14. ^ "Ricochet Podcast #95: A Pre-Revolutionary Moment Ricochet". Ricochet.com. 2011-11-26. Retrieved 2016-08-30. 
  15. ^ Weigel, David (2012-09-18). "Mitt Romney video: Romney wants to persuade undecided voters by getting former Obama voters to express their disappointment in the president". Slate.com. Retrieved 2016-08-30. 
  16. ^ The Reclusive hedge-fund tycoon behind the Trump presidency, The New Yorker, Jane Mayer, March 27, 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017.

External links