Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 19:12 UK

Profile: Cornell Belcher

As Barack Obama's campaign pollster Cornell Belcher played a pivotal role in engineering communication strategies for the 2008 election.

An outsider's perspective on British politics

One of the few black pollsters in Washington, Mr Belcher began his career with an internship for leading political strategist Stan Greenberg, who advised the campaigns of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry.

He then moved to the Feldman Group where he worked on polling for the re-election campaign of one of the country's most controversial public figures - former Washington DC Mayor Marion Barry.

In 2005, Mr Belcher's work came to the attention of Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

As part of the Democratic party's drive to attract more religious voters Mr Dean hired Mr Belcher to explore the link between people's faith and how they vote.

Mr Belcher quickly gained a reputation for his understanding of how to find and court voters who traditionally would not have been receptive to the Democrats' message.

As US President Barack Obama's campaign pollster he studied racial voting patterns and worked to extend and strengthen the Democrats' ethnic base.

Mr Belcher is the founder and president of Brilliant Corners consulting firm.

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