My Winthrop Experience

Name: Scott Huffmon
Position: Political Science professor
College: Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of Political Science

Two years after joining the Winthrop University political science faculty in 2001, Scott Huffmon created the Social & Behavioral Research Lab and started polling South Carolinians.

Now more than 15 years later, the poll is internationally known and vetted regularly to make sure its methodology remains sound. The Winthrop Poll, which is released four times a year, gives a glimpse into what South Carolina residents are thinking about their government, their leaders and the issues of the day.

Through the poll, Huffmon has gained an international, national, and regional reputation as an expert on American, Southern and South Carolina politics, as well as religion and politics.

As the Winthrop Poll director, Huffmon oversees every aspect of lab projects including questionnaire construction, programming of all surveying software including the CATI system, determining sampling frames, establishing appropriate survey methodology, overseeing interviewer training and supervision, establishing protocols for data collection and conducting data analysis. The research lab, which is manned by students trained to remain neutral while asking questions, has 25 stations.

Huffmon, whose secondary field for his Ph.D. at the University of Mississippi was quantitative methodology, has continued to stay abreast of methodology trends, such as polling more cell phones as the number of landlines has diminished. The Winthrop Poll also was a charter member of the Transparency Initiative through the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

Huffmon's work on the Winthrop Poll, in addition to his scholarship, teaching and community contributions, was among the many reasons Huffmon was named the 2016 Distinguished Professor of the Year. The designation is the highest honor the Winthrop community can bestow upon a faculty member.

He was previously recognized in 2004 as Winthrop's Outstanding Junior Professor and in 2009, taught a semester at the University of Debrecen in Hungary as a Fulbright Lecturing Fellow in American studies.