Benjamin Toff is an assistant professor at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a faculty affiliate of the Center for the Study of Political Psychology and the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. He studies media audiences and political engagement, public opinion, and changing journalistic practices.

He is currently on partial leave while leading a collaborative, multi-country research project studying trust in news while serving as a Senior Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. He is also currently at work on two book projects. One is an in-depth examination of “news avoidance” and infrequent news use among audiences in the UK, Spain, and the US. The second book explores the changing role played by opinion polls in news coverage of American politics. This work extends research conducted as part of his doctoral dissertation, which received the American Political Science Association’s E.E. Schattschneider Award for best doctoral dissertation in the field of American government.

His work has been published in the Journal of Communication, Public Opinion Quarterly, Perspectives on Politics, Political Communication, the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Journalism, Journalism Studies, and Digital Journalism. He received his PhD in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016 and a BA in social studies from Harvard in 2005. Prior to entering academia, he worked as a journalist and researcher at The New York Times.

Educational Background & Specialties
Open Close

Educational Background

  • B.A.: Social Studies, Harvard University, 2005
  • M.A.: Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2012
  • Ph.D.: Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016


  • Public opinion and polling
  • News audiences
  • Political communication
  • Political engagement