President Barack Obama is bringing his campaign polling director into White House, according to an official, part of a broader migration of political staff into government as he gears up to sell his second term agenda to the American people.
David Simas served as Director of Opinion Research for Obama’s re-election, coordinating the campaign’s extensive focus group and polling operation, which aides later revealed was generations ahead of what Mitt Romney’s campaign was capable of. According to a White House official, his new title will be Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications and Strategy.
White Houses have traditionally worked closely with pollsters, but typically pay for polling through party committees. That’s not expected to change: Joel Benenson, Obama’s longtime chief pollster, continues to play a central role in the political operation.
The move comes amid a White House reshuffle where a host of aides who have worked in the administration for years have decided to leave and others have moved up.
Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough will be announced Friday as the new White House Chief of Staff to replace Jack Lew, who Obama nominated to be the next Treasury Secretary. Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer is being promoted to replace departing Senior Adviser David Plouffe. His deputy, Jennifer Palmieri, will be the new Communications Director. Rob Nabors, Obama’s Director of Legislative Affairs, will become Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Policy — a position to expand his influence on domestic policy.
The other staff moves:
Tony Blinken – Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor
Danielle Gray – Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary
Katy Kale – Assistant to the President for Management and Administration
Lisa Monaco – Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (upon confirmation of John Brennan as DCIA)
Miguel Rodriguez –Assistant to the President and Director of Legislative Affairs
Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated that Simas is a pollster, in fact, he managed Obama’s polling and focus group operation to inform communications.