Nicole McCleskey, Partner


Nicole McCleskey is a Partner with Public Opinion Strategies.  Nicole has been with POS since 1998, starting as a project director and working her way up to partner.

In the 2015-2016 Republican presidential primary election cycle, Nicole served as lead pollster for Jeb Bush for President.  Nicole also worked closely with the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) in several key races of the 2016 cycle, in addition to her work with RAGA, the NRCC, the re-election effort of Senator John McCain, state legislative caucuses, and several winning initiative campaigns.

In the 2014 cycle, Nicole served as pollster and senior advisor to New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez’s re-election campaign.  In this capacity, Nicole provided strategic direction for the campaign and policy guidance. Governor Martinez won re-election by the largest margin ever for a Republican statewide candidate in this heavily Democrat state.  In this successful cycle, Nicole also conducted the polling for the historic Republican take-over of the New Mexico House of Representatives, the first time the GOP has controlled the Chamber since 1954.

In other notable 2014 successes, Nicole was part of the polling team for the Doug Ducey for Governor campaign in Arizona.  Nicole also helped elect two freshmen to the United States Congress, both GOP take-overs of Democrat seats.  In NC-7, David Rouzer was the first Republican elected to the seat since 1871, and in TX-23 Will Hurd captured one of the most competitive seats in the nation in a heavily Hispanic district.  In addition, Nicole conducted research on behalf of the Republican Governors’ Association, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican State Leadership Committee in key races.

In 2012, Nicole conducted over 100 focus groups and dozens of surveys for Republican candidates and organizations, including Romney for President, the NRCC, and the RGA.  Since the 2012 election, Nicole has spent considerable time studying perceptions of the Republican Party with specific interest in Hispanic voters and women.

Nicole’s political experience is complemented by a strong public affairs research resume that includes crisis management, strategic planning, corporate image development, and media testing for such organizations as America’s Natural Gas Alliance, the American Beverage Association, the National Association of Realtors, Walmart, and numerous other companies and associations. Through this body of work, Nicole has built a strong public policy background with focus areas that include health care, energy, education, and a range of other complex topics. Her work on corporate projects ranges from “dial” group ad testing and one-on-one elite audience interviews to national studies.

Nicole is a RIVA-trained moderator and is recognized as one of the premier focus group moderators on the Republican side of the aisle.  She received a B.A. in Government from Claremont McKenna College, and M.A. degrees from the University of Southern California and George Washington University.

Nicole is originally from Oakland, California, and now resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her family.


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Public Opinion Strategies helped us to clarify what we wanted to learn and then conducted research and analysis that shed light even beyond the questions we set out to ask. They were very receptive to our suggestions, responsive to our queries, and flexible when we needed them to be.

Public Opinion Strategies has consistently offered unparalleled advice and spot-on polling that has shaped how and where we spent money and deploy key resources. Additionally, they have always been an excellent steward of limited campaign resources, ensuring we spend wisely and not a dollar more than necessary in order to get the information we need.

Robert Blizzard and Public Opinion Strategies did a great job for us throughout our successful campaign for Congress. Robert gave us accurate data, spot on analysis, and professional advice, all of which were essential to our victory.

Public Opinion Strategies is one of our go-to pollsters when it comes to testing public support for bond ballot measures and other initiative proposals. They are available to provide ongoing consultation with regard to crafting of ballot questions, public outreach messaging, and related efforts.

ACLI has worked with Public Opinion Strategies for decades, through several tough industry battles—often ones in which public opinion does not naturally fall on the side of insurers. Yet Bill and his team consistently provide invaluable strategic advice by refining our messages and helping us frame our issues in a way that makes them understandable and persuasive.

The data from Public Opinion Strategies provided important insight and informed our public awareness campaign. We sincerely appreciate their professionalism and expertise in this arena.

Nicole McCleskey and the team at Public Opinion Strategies have been invaluable to me, both during my campaigns and as Governor of the State of New Mexico. It’s not just the accuracy of their numbers, but guiding the overall strategy that makes them so valuable.

Public Opinion Strategies has been a part of our team in Missouri for more than a decade. With their data and guidance, Republicans here were able to attain a majority in the House in 2002 for the first time in fifty years, and we have been able to grow that majority to the point that we now have a record, veto-proof majority.

Lori Weigel from Public Opinion Strategies reviewed our needs and guided us toward asking the right questions. Her reporting was easy to follow and her interpretation of the data provided clear decision points.

In my tenure at two leading business associations, facing huge and complex consumer issues, I have benefitted enormously from the objective advisory skills of Bill and his team. They do their homework, they are rigorous, dispassionate and thoughtful. Turning questions into answers is a clever tag, but it’s also an apt description of the professional talents of the firm.

I consider Public Opinion Strategies to be a part of our team. That is the way we have always worked. They have helped us to understand our needs and fashioned research solutions to meet those needs. They have helped us to meet killer deadlines by being flexible, executing rapidly, and insuring quality. Teamwork is the best way to describe it.

Accuracy, speed, and deep knowledge of key issues and public sentiment are the hallmarks of quality opinion research, and on these measures Public Opinion Strategies consistently delivers. I have had the pleasure of working with Public Opinion Strategies for more than 15 years on dozens of issues, and they are undoubtedly the gold standard.

Public Opinion Strategies’ track record of success and wealth of experience in political campaigns and issue advocacy are why they are one of the most trusted and well respected public opinion firms in Washington, D.C. Their insights and perspectives have helped to inform a wide array of public affairs activities across multiple industries.

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