Newspaper article Roll Call

Pollster Thomas Riehle Dies at 58

Newspaper article Roll Call

Pollster Thomas Riehle Dies at 58

Article excerpt

Thomas Riehle, an admired Democratic pollster, died unexpectedly on Jan. 3 at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 58.

While the cause of his death is unclear, Riehle's friend and fellow community activist Janice Gordon said in a phone interview that Riehle's wife, Barbara, said her husband was not feeling well and was tired the day he died. Riehle was also grieving his only son, Peter, who died at age 22 in Bethesda, Md., on Jan. 2, the day before Riehle's death.

"Over the course of a 35-year career, Thomas Riehle amassed an enviable record of accurately predicting the results of elections, both presidential and congressional, and worked with some of the biggest names in political and market research," Riehle's former co- worker and friend Evan Biddy wrote in an email.

Riehle gained a reputation as an accurate and knowledgeable public opinion researcher, contributing to polling used by the Cook Political Report. Tributes from political figures, including former White House senior adviser David Axelrod, demonstrated Riehle's reputation among top campaign advisers.

Heartsick over the loss of Thom Riehle, one of the most insightful opinion researchers I have known, and just a hell of a good guy.

-- David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) January 7, 2015

Before launching his career in public opinion research, Riehle worked as a journalist for The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Businessweek, The Economist and The Associated Press. According to his LinkedIn page, Riehle was the National Journal's associate editor from 1981 to 1988.

Then, Riehle switched from being a political reporter to a politico himself, diving into public opinion research. "Thom's transition from journalism to polling was sought after he thought rather than reporting, he wanted to be a part of the process," Biddy wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call Wednesday. Biddy said he and Riehle were "a two-man team" of researchers and had worked together since 2001.

After working at Hart-Riehle-Hartwig Research, where he was a partner, for 13 years, Riehle joined Ipsos Public Affairs, an international research firm, in 2001. Four years later he founded RT Strategies, with Republican V. Lance Tarrance Jr. …

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