The University Record, February 8, 1999


Warren E. Miller

Former U-M political scientist Warren E. Miller, one of America’s foremost authorities on electoral politics and voting behavior, died of complications from diabetes Jan. 30 in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 74.

For nearly half a century, Miller was active in the continuing research on U.S. elections at the Center for Political Studies (CPS), which he founded at the Institute for Social Research (ISR). This series of biennial surveys before and after every national election was formally established in 1977 as the American National Election Studies at CPS with funding from the National Science Foundation.

Miller, who taught political science at the U-M 1956–81, was the director of CPS from 1970 until he left for Arizona State University in 1982, where he taught until his death. In 1962, he created and became the first executive director of ISR’s Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, which now houses the largest archive of quantitative social science data in the world.

In 1960, Miller co-wrote The American Voter, the leading scholarly work that influenced a generation of political pollsters and reporters. He also wrote the 1966 landmark book Elections and Political Order and recently extended his work with a major volume on voting behavior, titled The New American Voter. In all, he wrote nine books and numerous book chapters and journal articles.

As a consultant for ABC News, Miller originated the term “projection” to describe anticipated election results. He also helped found and became the first president of the Social Science History Association in 1979, and served as president of the American Political Science Association in 1979–80.

“Warren Miller defined central elements of the social sciences and political science at Michigan and in the scholarly world in general,” says John E. Jackson, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science. “His intellectual contributions, his institutional efforts at the ISR, and the many scholars he was instrumental in recruiting to Michigan leave an indelible print on the University for which we will be forever grateful.”

CPS Director William Zimmerman, professor of political science, says that Miller played many roles at Michigan and later at ASU.

“He was an imaginative and indefatigable intellectual and organizational entrepreneur whose creations are still prominent,” he says. “He was a forceful and persuasive scholar whose work set an agenda for decades and which was continuing even as he was weakening. And, most significantly, he was a generous and supportive colleague, mentor and friend.”

Born March 26, 1924, in Hawarden, Iowa, Miller served three years in the U.S. Army Air Force (1943–46) before receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Oregon in 1948 and 1950, respectively. He earned his doctorate from Syracuse University in 1954 and taught at the University of California, Berkeley, for two years prior to joining the U-M. While at Syracuse and Berkeley, he also held a research appointment with the Survey Research Center.

Miller is survived by his wife, Ruth S. Jones, also a political scientist, of Scottsdale; son Jeffrey R. Miller of Indianapolis; and daughter Jennifer L. Miller, who lives near San Diego. Memorial contributions may be sent to Warren E. Miller Fellowship, Centennial Campaign Fund/APSA, 1527 New Hampshire Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-1206.