Rob Salmond bio

Rob Salmond bio

Rob Salmond is the owner of Polity. He has the expertise to bring your next public affairs project all the way from the initial target selection to the final execution and evaluation.

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Rob has wide experience relevant to public affairs. He has been an adviser to four leaders of New Zealand's Labour party - Helen Clark, David Shearer, David Cunliffe, and now Andrew Little. He has a strong background in quantitative social science, developed mainly in the United States. And he has broad experience as a media commentator and world-class public speaker.

In combination, Rob's skills allow Polity to provide an exceptional level of integration in its work. Technical, quantitative insights are fully integrated into the communications products and advice, which rely on both personal experience and scientific principle. And the analytics are executed specifically with communications outputs in mind.

Rob’s parliamentary work has had broad scope, from the maelstrom of helping leaders prepare for question times and election debates through to more analytic tasks such as auditing Labour’s written communications. One particular focus has been online presentation - Rob has twice played a lead role in redeveloping Labour’s website.

While living in the US, Rob wrote an award-winning PhD dissertation at UCLA which examined the effectiveness of twenty countries' question times at helping the country's population-at-large engage with politics. (Answer: the more circus-like the question time, the better it does.) He then went on to serve as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, one of the most highly-rated political science programs in the world. As well as teaching classes on comparative politics and research design, Rob has published more than 20 academic papers in outlets covering political science, public policy, and statistics. He is one of New Zealand's leading experts in quantitative insights into public affairs. Most of his publications and other university materials are archived at robsalmond.com.

Rob's media work includes paid newspaper and radio appearances, as well as online projects ranging from the markedly partisan (keepleftnz.org, 08wire.org) through to the more analytical (policyprogress.org.nz, pundit.co.nz). Many moons ago, Rob was also one of the premier competitive debaters in the country, with a peak world ranking of 15th in 1998. He now maintains an active blog at polity.co.nz that showcases his own values as well as the value he can add to your next project.