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POL S 299: 2008 Presidential Election

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In 2006 Barack Obama stated he would vote to end the Iraq war, however in 2007 ... respondent, 'do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Barack Obama? ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: POL S 299: 2008 Presidential Election


1
POL S 299 2008 Presidential Election
  • Political Polling
  • Week 2 January 15, 2008

2
Michigan Primary news
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3
Other Campaign 2008 News
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4
Studying Public Opinion
  • Want to know what people think about an issue or
    candidate? ASK THEM!
  • Opinion poll A method of systematically
    questioning a small, selected sample of
    respondents who are deemed representative of the
    total population
  • Survey research is a science that involves
    question wording, sample construction, and
    interpreting the results

5
Studying Public Opinion
  • Survey Research Center at University of Michigan
    is a leading center for studying political
    opinions
  • National Election Study, conducted every two/four
    years since 1948
  • Sampling technique must be as random and fair
    as possible. Every individual in the population
    must have an equal chance of being interviewed so
    as to not introduce bias into the result

6
Conducting Survey Research
  • Margin of error For voters in the U.S.
  • (about 100 million)
  • interviews error
  • 10,000 1.0
  • 1,500 2.5
  • 1,000 3.1
  • 500 4.4
  • 200 6.9
  • 100 9.8

7
Conducting Survey Research
  • Types of surveys
  • In person, door-to-door
  • Telephone random digital dial (RDD)
  • Telephone listed
  • Man on the street (exit poll)
  • Online/email
  • Mail survey (census)

8
Types of Political Surveys
  • 1 Telephone survey Live vs. Automated
  • Big difference between using live call house
    versus automated robo-calls. In live call, an
    actual person calls and enters your responses
    into computer, automated is for Hillary Clinton
    press one

9
Types of Political Surveys
  • 2 Voter list vs. Self-reported voter status
  • Who is the sample being interviewed? You want to
    interview voters, but how do you find them? One
    option is to use the official statewide voter
    list and call people who are actual registered
    voters. The second option is to randomly call
    adults and allow people to self-report as
    registered voters.

10
Types of Political Surveys
  • 3 Registered voter vs. Likely voter
  • Okay, so you have a voter on the phone, are they
    a likely voter? Some surveys interview a random
    sample of registered voters, some try to narrow
    it down to likely voters.
  • 4 Who is a likely voter?
  • Previous vote history, self-reported likelihood
    of voting, demographics

11
How valid is the survey?
  • Who conducted the poll? Are they a neutral and
    non-partisan organization?
  • When is the poll in the field? After 5pm,
    weekends? Cellphones?
  • Are the interviewers well trained?
  • Is there any interviewer bias? Political?
  • How is the survey worded? Are the questions
    leading, or objective?

12
Question order effects
  • In 2006 Barack Obama stated he would vote to end
    the Iraq war, however in 2007 he voted to
    authorize 300 billion in additional funding for
    the Iraq War. Do you think this is an
    inconsistent policy, or two different issues?
  • In the Democratic Party election for President,
    do you plan to vote for ROTATE NAMES Hillary
    Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, or Dennis
    Kucinich?

13
Question order effects
  • In the Democratic Party election for President,
    do you plan to vote for ROTATE NAMES Hillary
    Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, or Dennis
    Kucinich?
  • In 2006 Barack Obama stated he would vote to end
    the Iraq war, however in 2007 he voted to
    authorize 300 billion in additional funding for
    the Iraq War. Do you think this is an
    inconsistent policy, or two different issues?

14
Interviewer effects
  • Social desirability bias when people feel
    pressure to give the more politically correct, or
    socially desirable answer, instead of their true
    heartfelt opinion
  • Common in issues dealing with race, gender,
    class, equality
  • African American interviewer
  • Asks White respondent, do you have a favorable
    or unfavorable opinion of Barack Obama?

15
Conducting Survey Research
  • Who is home during the day?
  • Who is more likely to answer the phone?
  • Who is more likely to have their number unlisted?
  • Who is more likely to fill out a mail survey?
  • Who is more likely to fill out an online survey?
  • Who is more likely to be too busy?
  • Question wording should not be leading, should
    not give too much information, should not be
    framed with long introduction, should be careful
    about placement within survey

16
What about Exit Polls?
  • Pre-election surveys are almost always telephone
    surveys among likely voters
  • Exit polls are conducted on election day, as
    people leave the polling place
  • Self-administered survey, usually very short, one
    page front/back
  • Responses tabulated quickly and checked for
    errors, released on evening news

17
Problems with Exit Polls
  • In a telephone survey, almost every voter has an
    equal, and random chance of being selected
  • In an exit poll, pollsters only select a small
    sample of precincts to visit, about 40
  • What if those precincts are not an accurate
    representation of the entire state?
  • Absentee / early voters not picked up
  • Interviewer effects younger interviewers are
    more successful at recruiting younger and more
    moderate-to-liberal voters
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