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Crimson Connections: Mark J. Penn ’76 and Doug E. Schoen ’74

By Ryan N. Gajarawala, Andrew W. Liang, and Samuel W. Zwickel

A revolutionary approach to polling took Harvard buddies Mark J. Penn ’76 and Doug E. Schoen ’74 from the halls of The Harvard Crimson to South America, Israel, and New York City — just three of the locations where political leaders won stunning electoral triumphs based on their advice.

Their collaboration culminated in half a decade as the architects of the polling-driven strategy of President Bill Clinton; the duo is commonly credited with helping Clinton to win re-election in 1996. Penn remembers giving the final poll result to the incumbent president on Air Force One on election night, and Doug recalls personally walking into Trump Tower to demand a check from future president Donald Trump, who in the 1980s was already surveying his political viability.

Filmed December 10, 2020. Hosted by Andrew W. Liang and Samuel W. Zwickel. Edited by Ryan N. Gajarawala.

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