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Cornell Belcher

Cornell Belcher is one of the premier strategists in Democratic politics and a pioneering expert on quantitative and qualitative research, message development and branding. As an MSNBC contributor, Cornell is widely respected for his insights on current events, emerging trends and changing attitudes in an increasingly diverse America.


Cornell was the first minority to serve as lead pollster for either national political party and a key member of the polling team for both Obama presidential campaigns, developing strategy and messaging that produced record turnout of young and minority voters and driving progressive candidates and issues to victory up and down the ballot. He is the founder of Brilliant Corners, a polling and research firm dedicated to discovering new ways to break through to even the most entrenched voters and consumers, serving a wide a range of corporate, non-profit and political clients.  

Over the years, Cornell has worked with both Senate and House Democrats as Senior Political Advisor to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Special Projects Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and coordinator of the EMILY’s List “Women VOTE!” initiative, guiding communications and GOTV operations targeting women voters all over the country.

As the pollster for the Democratic National Committee under the pioneering Chairmanship of Governor Howard Dean, Cornell’s research helped rebrand and reposition the Democratic Party to better compete for voters in areas previously thought to be lost to Democrats. Cornell helped construct Dean’s visionary 50 State Strategy that expanded the Democratic footprint on the electoral map. Asked about Cornell’s role, Governor Dean was quoted in the Washington Post as saying that the research conducted by Cornell for the DNC was "the best poll [he'd] seen in ten years."

Cornel has been named “Pollster of the Year” by the Association of Political and Public Affairs Professionals and twice been named to “The Root 100,” a list of the top 100 African American achievers and influencers in the country. He has been featured in a variety of media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Black Enterprise, The Root, The Atlantic, POLITICO, CNN, The Russ Parr Show, Anderson Cooper 360, BET, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Melissa Harris-Perry, and BBC. Cornell also serves on George Washington University’s National Council for Media and Public Affairs. 

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Cornell is a graduate of James Madison University.