Political pollster Margaret Kenski was one of my favorite political titans in Southern Arizona. I always learned something new in our conversations. I had the good fortune to work with her when the Tucson Weekly did some polling in the 2006 congressional race to replace Jim Kolbe and she was a joy to work withl.
Margaret died Tuesday at the far-too-young age of 71.
The gang at the political consulting firm HighGround shared memories of working with Margaret:
We have used national pollsters, but Margaret really showed us the value of working with someone who truly understood Arizona. We could count on her to tell us the truth, whether it was good news or bad news. More than that, she offered a unique and academic opinion on key issues — often challenging the conventional “political wisdom” and making us all better for the experience.
With most campaigns, Republican women were often the “swing” constituency who had to be convinced. Margaret was the quintessential Republican woman. She often had the best arguments and challenged the way we thought about critical issues. Her counsel and insight live on in our souls, but will never be replaced. We can already feel her absence.
More than anything, Margaret was fun to be around and a pleasure to talk to. She had a wry sense of humor and a no nonsense attitude. At the same time, she was always the perfect facilitator for focus groups putting interviewees at ease and getting them to open up.
We truly miss Margaret. The name of her company was Arizona Opinion and she delivered accurate assessments of the opinions of Arizonans year after year. More importantly, everyone valued her individual opinion very highly, and she shaped Arizona’s public policy more that anyone ever knew.
God bless you Margaret Kenski. You left Arizona a better place and all of us who were privileged to know you, better people.