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Arizona pollster, political scientist Bruce Merrill dies

Bruce Merrill

Prominent Arizona political scientist and pollster Bruce Merrill has died.

Merrill died Saturday of stomach cancer at age 78, said Jack August, an Arizona Capitol Museum historian and a longtime friend of Merrill.

The Arizona native was a professor at Arizona State University for nearly four decades. He regularly conducted opinion surveys of Arizona voters and was a frequent commentator on public affairs.

August said he recently conducted several oral history interviews with Merrill, who recalled that his interest in political science grew out of his U.S. Navy service when he served as a liaison officer with members of Congress and other figures.

“He found these people very fascinating,” August said.

Merrill got into polling while a graduate student at Brigham Young University, and early in his career did polling work with Richard Wirthlin, who went on to do polling for Ronald Reagan while Merrill went into academia.

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One comment

  1. Bruce Merrill was perhaps the single most important influencer in my life. My professor (I took my first class from him in 1979), my first mentor, my undergraduate and graduate advisor and boss (I was his GRA from 1982 to 1983), his guidance and support has shaped every aspect of my life since, certainly my career as a political consultant and research and strategy analyst. He even paid my first semester in graduate school since I was flat broke. When I went to repay him, he told me “just keep it Mike. As a wedding present.”

    Thanks, Bruce. For everything. You will be missed.

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