Penn Undergrads and Decision 2024 (Video)

From helping with exit polling to vote count data collection, students in the PORES program bring their skills to the NBC Decision Desk on election nights.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Video by Alex Schein

Political analysis requires data-savvy researchers, whether they are reporting polling data on election night or seeking to understand long-term policy impact. PORES—the Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies—is the place where Penn students learn the high-level analytic and technical skills that complex social science problems demand.

PORES, founded in 2014 by John Lapinski, Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor of Political Science and Elections Unit Director at NBC News, offers students opportunities to take their learning outside of the classroom, with fellowships that pair students and faculty to gather data and perform analyses on real-world issues, and a collaboration with NBC News that allows students to work at the Decision Desk during major elections.

“At NBC for the 2024 presidential cycle, we have over a dozen PORES fellows working with us in different capacities. We have students who are working with exit polls, from questionnaire design to graphics. We have students who are working on vote count from data collection to analysis. It takes a big team to get this effort off the ground and we’re really lucky to have PORES students who are available and able and willing to help us with this,” says Stephanie Perry, Executive Director of PORES and the Fox Leadership Program at Penn, who is also the Manager of Exit Polling at NBC News.

Tyler Jenkins-Wong, C’24, has been working at the NBC News Decision Desk since 2021 through the PORES program. In addition to NBC, he also worked as an intern for the Data-Driven Storytelling Desk at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he covered the highly contested midterm election in Pennsylvnia during the summer of 2022. Working at both NBC and The Inquirer allowed him to apply the skills he learned in the classroom and on reserach projects. “[Both situations] have real stakes in which the work that I’m doing is being seen by lots of people and leading to some important decisions in both a public policy space and also in a space to be able to call elections,” says Jenkins-Wong.