Dan Schnur

Dan Schnur

Dan Schnur is the Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, where he works to motivate students to become active in the world of politics and encourage public officials to participate in the daily life of USC. Dan also serves as the Poll Director for the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times and the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy/Los Angeles Times polls.

For years, Dan was one of California’s leading political and media strategists, whose record includes work on four presidential and three gubernatorial campaigns. Dan served as the national Director of Communications for the 2000 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator John McCain and spent five years as chief media spokesman for California Governor Pete Wilson.  

From 2010 to spring of 2011, Dan served as Chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Dan’s term as Chairman inspired him to launch Fixing California, an organization dedicated to campaign finance and political reform. He also served as the Co-Chairman of the Voices of Reform project, a bi-partisan statewide organization devoted to making state government more responsive to the needs of California voters. 

In addition to his position at USC, Dan is an Adjunct Instructor at the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. Dan has also held the post of Visiting Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics at Harvard University and taught an advanced course in political campaign communications at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. In addition, he was the founder of the Center for Campaign Leadership, a non-partisan effort to equip young people with the skills essential for professional involvement in political campaigns.

He has served as an advisor to the William & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Broad Education Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Stuart Foundation on a variety of K-12 education, college and workforce preparedness, governance and political reform efforts.

Dan’s commentaries have appeared in several newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, and the New York Times. In addition, he has been an analyst and political commentator for CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and National Public Radio.

Dan is a graduate of the American University in Washington, D.C.



  • 3518 Trousdale Parkway, Von KleinSmid Center 263, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0045
  • Phone: (213) 740 - 8964
  • Fax: (213) 740 - 3167
  • Email: unruhins@usc.edu