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Celinda Lake

Pollster & Political Strategist
  • Worked for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Governor's Association (DGA) and The White House Project
  • One of the nation's foremost experts on electing women candidates and framing issues to women voters
  • Quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal as well as a variety of magazines, including Newsweek, Glamour, and Marie Claire
  • Appeared on numerous television programs, including CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, and NPR, discussing her work and providing expert commentary
Topics & Types
Political AnalystsPollsters & Public Opinion ExpertsFemale Speakers

Celinda Lake is one of the Democratic Party’s leading political strategists, serving as tactician and senior advisor to the national party committees, dozens of Democratic incumbents, and challengers at all levels of the electoral process. Celinda and her firm are known for cutting-edge research on issues including the economy, health care, the environment and education, and have worked for a number of institutions including the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA), The White House Project, AFL-CIO, SEIU, CWA, IAFF, Sierra Club, NARAL, Human Rights Campaign, EMILY’s List and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Her work has also taken her to advise fledgling democratic parties in several post-war Eastern European countries, including Bosnia, and South Africa. In 2008, Celinda worked as pollster for Vice President Biden.

Since its formation, Lake Research Partners has become one of the most respected Democratic polling firms in the country. The firm’s work has moved the progressive agenda forward on a variety of issues. Working against the conservatives, Celinda’s research demonstrated that the phrase “religious political extremists” was much more communicative than the vernacular “religious right.” In the healthcare arena, her research showed that talking about “reducing health care costs” and the 8 out of 10 working families without adequate health insurance was key. Her interviews and statistics have been quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal as well as a variety of magazines, including Newsweek, Glamour and Marie Claire, and Celinda has appeared on numerous television and radio news programs, including CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News and NPR, discussing her work and providing expert commentary.

Celinda is one of the nation’s foremost experts on electing women candidates and on framing issues to women voters. American Politics calls Celinda a “super-strategist or, better yet, the Godmother,” and Working Woman says she is “arguably the most influential woman in her field.” She is renowned for her groundbreaking research on single women voters in conjunction with Women’s Voices Women Vote and has helped elect numerous female candidates, including Barbara Mikulski, the “Dean” of Women Senators, former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, Blanche Lincoln, U.S. Senator from Arkansas, Patricia Madrid the first Hispanic woman Attorney General in New Mexico, and Carol Moseley-Braun in her historic victory to become the first African-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate. Celinda also works for Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House.

Celinda has a long record of defeating incumbents, including races for Donna Edwards who beat Albert Wynn, Jerry McNerney who beat Richard Pombo, Tim Walz who defeated Gil Gutknecht, and previously Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and West Virginia Governor Bob Wise, both of whom beat incumbents. Recently two more incumbents fell at Celinda’s hands: Conrad Burns who lost to Jon Tester in Montana in 2006, and Ted Stevens who lost to Mark Begich in Alaska in 2008. Also in 2006, Celinda was an integral part of the successful effort to help Democrats take control of the House of Representatives.

Lake Research Partners has a long history of successful initiative campaigns. In 2008, Celinda polled in California to beat parental notification initiatives three times in a row. In 2006, Celinda helped with successful minimum wage campaigns in five states and was the pollster on the first successful effort to defeat an anti-gay marriage initiative in Arizona. During the 1992 election cycle, Celinda oversaw focus group research for the Clinton/Gore campaign and served as a general consultant throughout the campaign. Celinda is also credited with identifying key voter groups including Reagan seniors, NASCAR dads, waitress moms, the marriage gap and generation D. In 2005 she and Kellyanne Conway published What Women Really Want with the Free Press.

Prior to forming Lake Research Partners, Celinda was partner and vice president at Greenberg-Lake. Her earlier experience includes serving as Political Director of the Women’s Campaign Fund, as the Research Director at the Institute for Social Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and as a Policy Analyst for the Subcommittee on Select Education.

Celinda, a native of Montana and one of the political world's most avid whitewater rafters, holds a master’s degree in political science and survey research from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and a certificate in political science from the University of Geneva, in Switzerland. Celinda received her undergraduate degree from Smith College in Massachusetts, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumna Medal by the College.

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