Donald S. Kellermann, who brought a new depth to opinion polling on politics, public policy and the media as founding director of the Times Mirror Center for the People & the Press, died Tuesday of liver cancer at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 83.
His death was confirmed by Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, which now runs the Times Mirror Center as the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
Kellermann was head of corporate public affairs for Times Mirror Co., the now-defunct parent company of The Times, when he conceived of a research organization that would provide a more sophisticated analysis of public attitudes than was offered at the time by the major public opinion survey groups. He began running polls in 1985 and five years later became the first director of the Times Mirror Center for the People & the Press.
Kohut, a former president of the Gallup Organization, said Kellermann pioneered studies of the electorate that classified voters not only according to their party affiliations but by their values as well. He also started a comprehensive series of surveys about the way the public regards the press, the first of which documented the media's growing credibility problem. Another survey, in 1990, hinted at troubles ahead for newspapers, finding that the under-30 generation "knows less, cares less and reads newspapers less" than any generation in the previous 50 years.