Andrew Kohut, the founding director of the Pew Research Center, has died at age 73. The former leader of the polling group that calls itself a “fact tank” had been battling a form of leukemia that his son says was first diagnosed in 2009.
Kohut’s wife, Diane Colasanto, posted a message online saying he had died early Tuesday morning, “finally at peace.”
Kohut had retired from his post as the Pew Research Center’s president in 2012.
Earlier this month, one of Kohut’s two sons, Matthew, published a blog post in honor of his father’s birthday, saying that the elder Kohut was too ill to speak on the phone as he fought chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Matthew Kohut also wrote this summer about being a stem cell donor for his father.
The younger Kohut went on to list some of the lessons his father taught him, saying, “he was keenly aware that asking the wrong question would elicit the wrong answer.”
Over the years, Andrew Kohut logged hundreds of appearances on NPR’s news programs, deciphering public opinion polls, demographic surveys, and other research, and discussing topics as varied as America’s image in the world (in 2006) to the “fiscal cliff” crisis of 2012.
From a summary of Kohut’s earlier career published by Pew:
“He was a student of George Gallup and Paul Perry, the founders of modern polling and opinion research practices, respectively. He served as President of The Gallup Organization from 1979 to 1989. In 1989, he founded Princeton Survey Research Associates, a polling firm specializing in media, politics and public policy studies. In 1990, he became the founding director of surveys for the Times Mirror Center for the People & the Press, and he became its director in 1993.”