Fact TankOctober 25, 2016

Oversampling is used to study small groups, not bias poll results

As oversampling and its possible effect on presidential polls are spotlighted ahead of Election Day, learn more about this practice and how pollsters adjust for it.

Fact TankOctober 17, 2016

Putting post-debate ‘flash polls’ into perspective

In the aftermath of presidential debates, there is intense interest in gauging “who won.” How can we know the answer to that question?

September 29, 2016

The Racial Confidence Gap in Police Performance

Blacks and whites in the U.S. disagree over police performance and differ on the causes of fatal encounters between blacks and police.

Fact TankSeptember 20, 2016

Measuring illegal immigration: How Pew Research Center counts unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.

Jeffrey S. Passel, senior demographer, on the research techniques used to derive the unauthorized immigrant population estimate in the U.S. and the challenges involved.

Fact TankSeptember 8, 2016

5 key things to know about the margin of error in election polls

Some of the better-known statistical rules of thumb that a smart consumer might think apply in polls are more nuanced than they seem. In other words, as is so often the case in life, it’s complicated.

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

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 […]

U.S. PoliticsJune 22, 2016

Partisanship and Political Animosity in 2016

The 2016 campaign is unfolding against a backdrop of intense partisan division and animosity. Partisans’ views of the opposing party are now more negative than at any point in nearly a quarter of a century.

Fact TankJune 16, 2016

In the age of big data, survey research will not only survive but thrive

The next frontier of public-opinion research is already visible in the “big data” revolution. Through the digital traces of our everyday activities, we are creating a massive volume of information that can tell us a lot about ourselves. Smart data science can identify patterns in our behaviors and interests. And in some domains, such as […]