Nicole McCleskey is a Partner with Public Opinion Strategies, a leading national political, public policy, and public affairs research firm. Public Opinion Strategies is widely recognized as the nation’s leading Republican polling firm, listing 13 U.S. Senators, six Governors, and more than 65 Members of Congress as clients. Nicole has been with POS since 1998, starting as a project director and working her way up to partner.
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 premiere 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.