A political pioneer who was one of the first female polling experts to advise presidential campaigns, and who later worked for CBS News, has died. The Washington Post reports that Dotty Lynch died Aug. 10. She was 69.
Lynch died from complications from melanoma, her husband, R. Morgan Downey, told the publication.
“During a career spanning four decades, Ms. Lynch collected, parsed and interpreted voter polling and survey data. She became best known, during her work in the 1970s and early 1980s for the Democratic Party, for illuminating the opinions of female voters,” the piece notes.
She didn’t agree with some older political analysts, who believed that women voted along the same lines as their husbands.
“She’s the person who raised the consciousness of the party leaders on the voter gap between men and women,” Democratic political consultant Bob Squier told the newspaper in 1983. “She translated it and made people aware of it.”
Lynch joined CBS as political editor in 1985, managing researchers who provided polling and analysis to on-screen talent such as Mike Wallace and Diane Sawyer.
“She proposed stories for Dan Rather and any other reporters who wanted to cover politics,” Lesley Stahl wrote in an email to the publication. “She knew everyone. If I, for instance, was working on a story, I would ask her who I should call for background or for on-camera interviews. We all knew she had the keys to the kingdom: She had the contacts, knew what all the polls were saying and how to interpret them. She helped shape our pieces and made sure we were accurate.”