Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly hired Democratic pollster Joel Benenson, reports Politico. Benenson was the top advisor for President Barack Obama and more recently, he was chief strategist for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election.
Joel Benenson hired for Chan Zuckerberg initiative
Joel Benenson and his company Benenson Strategy Group will be responsible for conducting research for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the couple’s philanthropic efforts. The mission statement of the foundation according to its website is “advancing human potential and promoting equality.”
The couple already hired David Ploufee, campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s 2008 run. Plouffe has been hired as president of policy and advocacy. President George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign manager Ken Mehlman is a board member as well, notes Newsmax.
Does this hint at Zuckerberg’s political ambitions?
There have long been speculations that Zuckerberg might be getting ready for a political debut. Only recently, Zuckerberg’s tour of all 50 states fanned speculations that he was considering a career in ppolitics. TechCrunch previously reported that an agreement with Facebook allows Zuckerberg to serve in public office while also being CEO of Facebook simultaneously.
Earlier this year, Zuckerberg made yet another politically connected hiring: Amy Dudley, who worked as communications advisor for Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine. What strengthens speculations about Zuckerberg planning an entry into politics even more is his heightened interest in politics in recent times.
Many of his Facebook posts are about political developments and his opinions about them. Zuckerberg has expressed his opinion on everything from Trump’s tweet proposing a military ban on transgender soldiers to the attempted ban on immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.
However, the 33-year-old CEO of the world’s largest social networking site has always maintained that he has no such aspirations. In an earlier Facebook post, Zuckerberg stated that he is not planning to run for any public office.
“I’m doing it to get a broader perspective to make sure we’re best serving our community of almost 2 billion people at Facebook and doing the best work to promote equal opportunity at the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative,” the CEO said.
Politico also notes that the mere hiring of Joel Benenson does not tell anything about Zuckerberg’s political plans. In addition to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Benenson’s strategy group has an affiliation with multiple nonprofit groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, AARP, and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.
Does Zuckerberg stand a chance?
Taking a cue from Zuckerberg’s tour, a polling agency conducted research and found that 40% of voters are in support of Zuckerberg, whereas 40% would vote for Trump. Further, Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina-based polling group, found that one in five voters stated that they were not sure who to choose from this hypothetical competition.
Zuckerberg is currently the fifth richest person in the world. His total fortune now stands at $72.7 billion, according to Forbes. He is now higher than the Mexican businessman Carlos Sim on the publication’s billionaire list.