Celinda Lake

Celinda Lake is a pollster and political strategist for the Democratic Party. Lake has worked as a pollster for Democratic politicians, including Presidents Joe Biden and Bill Clinton, former U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. [1] Lake and her firm, Lake Research Partners, also conduct polling and research for a variety of left-of-center organizations, such as the AFL-CIO, SEIU, EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood, the Democratic National Committee, Sierra Club, and the Human Rights Campaign. [2]

Lake’s research and writing focuses special attention on women candidates and women’s political issues. She co-authored a book in 2005, What Women Really Want, with Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway. [3]

Personal Background

Celinda Lake attended Smith College as an undergraduate and earned her master’s degree in political science and survey research from the University of Michigan. She also received a certificate in political science from the University of Geneva. [4]

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. [5]


Lake started Lake Research Partners in 1992 following her work on the Clinton-Gore campaign. [6] Lake Research Partners touts its record of having turned down prospective clients who were not sufficiently progressive, promising to work “only for pro-choice, labor-friendly candidates.” [7]

Lake prides herself on activist polling for the purpose of influencing key left-progressive policy outcomes, with her official biography on her website boasting that she “polled in California to beat parental notification initiatives three times in a row” and “helped with successful minimum wage campaigns in five states.” [8]

Lake’s activist polling techniques have been criticized for “trying to manipulate” respondents for “political purposes,” including by posing leading questions that play on voters’ lack of knowledge of certain issues. [9]

Lake seeks to sway voters by advocating for Democratic politicians to use more effective, poll-tested language to describe political issues. For example, she supports the use of the term “religious political extremists” to describe Christian conservatives as opposed to “religious right.” [10]

After the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Lake decried Kavanaugh as “a far-right partisan” and rallied Democrats to “channel our fury” into the 2018 midterm elections. [11]

In April 2020, Lake told reporters that Democrats should use the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to define their economic agenda and defeat President Donald Trump, saying of the crisis, “we should be leaning into this.” [12]

Lake has advocated for the Green New Deal, calling it a “fantastic idea” and “the secret, or one of the secrets, to winning 2020.” [13]


  1. “Our people: Celinda Lake.” Accessed March 29, 2021. ^
  2. Biography: Celinda Lake.” Women’s Media Center. Accessed March 29, 2021. ^
  3. “Celinda Lake.” Accessed March 29, 2021. ^
  4. Biography: Celinda Lake.” Women’s Media Center. Accessed March 29, 2021. ^
  5. “Bio: Celinda Lake.” The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. Accessed March 29, 2021. ^
  6. “Profile of Celinda Lake.” Accessed March 29, 2021. ^
  7. “Progressive Leadership.” Accessed March 29, 2021. ^
  8. “Our people: Celinda Lake.” Accessed March 29, 2021. ^
  9. Walter, Scott. “Lies, damned lies, and polls.” Philanthropy Daily. October 7, 2014. Accessed March 29, 2021. ^
  10. “Celinda Lake.” Accessed March 29, 2021. ^
  11. Lake, Celinda. “We Must Channel Our Fury Over Kavanaugh Before Election Day.” The Nation. October 17, 2018. Accessed March 29, 2021. ^
  12. Siders, David. “Dems find a rallying cry: Trump tanked the economy.” Politico. April 6, 2020. Accessed March 29, 2021. ^
  13. Colman, Zach. “Question for Democrats: What is a ‘Green New Deal’?” Politico. January 12, 2019. Accessed March 29, 2021. ^

Connected Organizations

  1. Democracy Alliance Conferences (Other Group)
    Participant, Fall 2016
  2. Lake Research Partners (For-profit)
  3. Our Story Hub (Non-profit)
    Advisory Board Member
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