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Amy Holmes Q & A

Amy Holmes recently joined the Rasmussen Reports team as our broadcast political analyst. Since more and more of you are seeing Amy on-air these days talking about our survey results, we thought it was a good time for you to get to know her a little better. So we’ve asked Amy a few questions about herself.

Q: How did you get interested in politics?

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When I first graduated from college, I was a snob. Me, with my fancy economics degree.  I thought politics was a dirty, shallow, ridiculous business. Then I moved to Washington, found it was true and loved it!

In all seriousness, my first job in D.C. was for the then-new women's organization, the Independent Women's Forum.  It was founded by a force of nature and political savant -- Barbara Ledeen. On the roster: Christina Hoff Sommers; Diana Furchtgott Roth; Ginny Thomas; Barbara Olson; Wendy Gramm; Ricky Silberman and Heather Higgins - tremendous women who led public policy debates with vigor and fearlessness.

I also learned in my five years working for Barbara (a reformed lefty) to meet people where they are.  Find common ground.  I wish more elected officials did that.

Q: Why did you decide to be a journalist covering politics rather than someone who works in politics?

I've done both.  Through Barbara, I landed a job as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's speechwriter for the Senate floor.  Through my three years writing speeches for Senator Frist, every day I learned the ethos of "citizen legislator": Our elected officials work for us, not the other way around.  It's guided my work as a journalist and as a political analyst ever since.

I still tease Senator Frist (now that I can) that he hired me as a young African American woman to have the least visible job in politics: speechwriter. It's a testament to his own meritocratic values.

Q: How important is polling to our understanding of politics?

Polling tells us what our fellow citizens are thinking.  That’s part of why it drives news coverage -- people love watching people. Polling also helps us understand trends, where issues are headed, what to expect and how in turn to shape our response to those trends.

I remember when university eggheads used to lecture the body politic to ignore the "horse race” because it demeaned political discourse. The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour comes to mind. Now, those eggheads have their own blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, are on TV, and they all cite polling data to help explain the political landscape.

Q: What is your most important job as the on-air spokesperson for Rasmussen Reports?

I go into every TV interview having studied Rasmussen Reports data.  It gives me insight and context about the specific issues at hand, and it gives the audience a better understanding of what their fellow citizens are thinking beyond campaign talking points and media spin.

Rasmussen Reports cuts through the received "narrative" and offers an honest snapshot of public opinion. My most important job as an on-air spokesperson for Rasmussen Reports is sharing that information with the public.

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