A basic question when reading a poll: Does it include or exclude nonvoters?
Opinion polls in the U.S. can address the same topic yet reach very different results. There are several reasons this can happen, but we tackle one of the most basic: Did the poll include or exclude the 45% who didn’t vote in November?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
The challenges of polling Asian Americans
Why aren’t Asian Americans shown as a separate group when differences among whites, blacks and Hispanics are discussed in survey reports? It’s a good question, so we put together a summary of some of the methodological and other issues on accurately polling U.S. Asians.