Philip Converse (1928-2014)

Philip Converse (1928-2014)

Publication date: Wed, 07 Jan 2015

Philip Converse, a world renowned public opinion researcher from the University of Michigan, passed away last week at the age of 86. He was a winner of the AAPOR Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement in 1986 and the WAPOR Helen Dinerman Award for career contributions to innovative research and to research methodology in 2003.

His obituary reads as follow:

Philip E. Converse, an authority on public opinion and electoral behavior and a professor emeritus of sociology and political science at the University of Michigan, died on December 30, 2014, in Ann Arbor, Mich. He was 86.

Converse’s wide-ranging contributions to the field of political science changed how the world understood political behavior, according to political scientist Donald R. Kinder, a research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

“By brilliant example, in paper after paper, Converse demonstrated the value of a quantitative approach to understanding politics,” said Kinder. “His influence is profound. He is surely one of the most important social scientists of the 20th century.”

“Phil’s work moved the study of political behavior from an emphasis on the group basis of support and preferences to an emphasis on the role of attitudes in shaping them,” said U-M political scientist Michael Traugott. “While citizens did not often hold ideologically consistent views on issues, they made assessments of political actors and policies based upon attitudes related to ideology and partisanship.”