Media & NewsJune 20, 2017

Few mode effects found when Americans are asked about their news consumption habits

A new analysis sheds light on concerns raised among pollsters that the medium by which a survey question is asked – its mode – can affect responses.

MethodsMay 12, 2017

How can a survey of 1,000 people tell you what the whole U.S. thinks?

The first video in our “Methods 101” series is about random sampling, a concept that undergirds all probability-based survey research. Here’s how it works.

MethodsMay 12, 2017

Video Explainer: Understanding random sampling for public opinion surveys

The first video in our “Methods 101” series is about random sampling, a concept that undergirds all probability-based survey research. Here’s how it works.

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.

MethodsFebruary 16, 2017

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?

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?

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.

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.

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 […]

Fact TankMay 2, 2016

What we learned about online nonprobability polls

The advantages of these online surveys are obvious – they are fast and relatively inexpensive, and the technology for them is pervasive. But are they accurate?