Most pollsters start with clients running for dogcatcher, then maybe mayor, governor, or president. Craig Charney’s first client was Nelson Mandela. That made Charney Research different, too.

Johannesburg, 1992: ten black South Africans nervously sat round a table.  It was Mandela’s first focus group, and Craig was anxious, too. Oppressed by white minority rule, were blacks too scared to talk politics? Would they vote in their country’s first democratic election?

He soon learned the problem wasn’t getting black South Africans to discuss politics – but to stop! The bigger surprise: they wanted to vote – but didn’t know how.  Polling showed 20% might unintentionally spoil their ballots, which could cost Mandela the election.  So Craig drafted a voter education plan – that cut spoiled ballots to 2%.

The lessons he learned from Mandela’s campaign inform our work today. One is that people in the developing world have lots to say. The second is that if you listen, it matters.

Our goal: making the unheard voices audible

Our goal: using surveys in emerging markets and crisis countries to bring their unheard voices to companies, development groups, and conflict resolution or security assistance organizations. After coming home to be Senior Analyst on President Clinton’s 1996 polling team, Craig formed Charney Research in 1997 to do this.

Since, we’ve worked in over 45 countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America (and the U.S). We took Afghanistan’s first poll to help prepare for its first election. We helped multinationals explore B2B markets in China and understand buyers in Vietnam. We examined health care systems in Poland and small business needs in Mozambique. We explored how to untie the blood knot tangling Israel and Palestine.

Serving development, business, and conflict resolution

Our clients are leaders in the development, business, and conflict resolution worlds. They include USAID, Samsung, the Defense Department, the World Bank, Honda, the Council on Foreign Relations, FCB, the International Peace Institute, the Asia Foundation, Monsanto, UNDP, the Financial Times, the World Wildlife Fund, and ABC News.

Our headquarters are in New York, but the firm’s key strength is in its global network of senior pollsters experienced in developing countries.  It runs from Chicago, New York, and Washington to Gibraltar, Istanbul, and Jakarta.  They can respond to needs anywhere — fast.

Our work has one goal: helping you hear from those you need to in order to sell, help, or manage conflicts in developing countries.

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