Pew Research Center survey reports, demographic studies and data-driven analysis

MethodsFebruary 15, 2018

Commercial Voter Files and the Study of U.S. Politics

A new analysis demystifies voter files, the widely-used and comprehensive digital databases used to better understand the U.S. electorate.

MethodsJanuary 26, 2018

For Weighting Online Opt-In Samples, What Matters Most?

A growing share of polling is conducted with online opt-in, or nonprobability, samples. This trend has raised some concern within the industry because, while low participation rates pose a challenge for all surveys, the online opt-in variety face additional hurdles.

MethodsMay 15, 2017

What Low Response Rates Mean for Telephone Surveys

Telephone polls still provide accurate data on a wide range of social, demographic and political variables, but some weaknesses persist.

MethodsMarch 31, 2017

Are Telephone Polls Understating Support for Trump?

An experiment comparing responses to 27 questions fielded on both a telephone and a web survey found no significant mode differences in overall opinion about Trump or many of his signature policy positions.

MethodsOctober 24, 2016

Cellphone Activity Flags

As telephone interviewing costs continue to rise and cellphones represent an increasing share of survey samples, survey researchers are exploring approaches to make these designs more cost-effective.

MethodsSeptember 7, 2016

Text Message Notification for Web Surveys

By Kyley McGeeney and H. Yanna Yan Text messaging has grown in popularity in recent years, leading survey researchers to explore ways texts might be used as tools in the public opinion research process. In the U.S., at least, researchers must obtain consent from respondents before they are permitted to send an automated text. This […]

MethodsAugust 1, 2016

Flashpoints in Polling

Many people wonder: Can polls be trusted? The following essay contains a big-picture review of the state of polling, organized around a number of key areas.

MethodsAugust 1, 2016

The Twilight of Landline Interviewing

By Courtney Kennedy, Kyley McGeeney and Scott Keeter Now that over 90% of U.S. adults have cellphones,1¬†survey researchers are considering whether it is necessary to continue dialing landline numbers in random-digit-dial (RDD) telephone polls. A new Pew Research Center study finds that, for polls already conducting a substantial share of interviews with cellphones, the answer […]

MethodsAugust 1, 2016

Moving Without Changing Your Cellphone Number: A Predicament for Pollsters

By Meredith Dost and Kyley McGeeney Each year about 36 million Americans move residences, according to the Census Bureau. And they quite often take their cellphone numbers with them. Others have not moved but bought their cellphone in a different state. The net result, according to new Pew Research Center estimates, is that 10% of […]

MethodsMay 2, 2016

Evaluating Online Nonprobability Surveys

Online nonprobability surveys are fast, cheap, and increasingly popular. We compared nine samples and found that accuracy varied substantially.