John Blydenburgh, professor emeritus of political science at Clark, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021.
Born in Islip, New York, Blydenburgh played sports and performed in school plays throughout high school. The pinnacle of his high school athletic career was during a baseball game against rival Bridgehampton School, when he struck out Carl Yastrzemski. Although he was recruited by the Brooklyn Dodgers farm team, he didn’t try out; instead, he joined the U.S. Air Force, serving for three years.
The GI bill sponsored his study of political science at SUNY Binghamton; he later earned his doctorate at the University of Rochester. His pioneering work with survey research led him to a teaching position at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University and then to ABC News, where he worked as a polling consultant from 1969 through the 2008 presidential election. He managed ABC’s Election Projections Desk from 1980 to 1988.
He joined the faculty of Clark’s Government and International Relations Department in 1975, where he taught classes in game theory and survey research until his retirement in 2003. During his time at Clark, Blydenburgh founded and served as director of the Public Affairs Research Center at Clark University. He also created and directed the Clark Poll, a quarterly public opinion poll focusing on public issues in Massachusetts, from 1977 to 1981. He was interviewed frequently by the media, especially around major elections.
During his career, Blydenburgh received a Fulbright Scholarship to Wellington University in New Zealand, and spent a sabbatical at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.
He is survived by his sister Louise, daughters Jenn and Emma Kate, Emma’s stepsons Jeff and Alex and their children, and a large number of nieces, nephews, and friends.
No funeral services are planned at this time.