A Field Guide to Polling: Election 2020 Edition

The Pew Research Center just published a field guide to help people understand polling in 2020 elections. Surveys are still conducted by mail, face-to-face interviews, and telephone interviews. However, it is more difficult and expensive to conduct these conventional surveys. The response rates have decreased significantly because lots people don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Two types of online polls have emerged in recent years. 1. Probability-based polls recruit survey participants from inclusive and probability-based frames like phone or mail to participate in online surveys. 2. Opt-in surveys use volunteers from a wide range of sources without random sample of the national population. When reading a poll, people need to be aware of what population of the Americans is represented. Were samples drawn from self-reported registered voters or a smaller subgroup of people considered most likely to vote? Also, remember to check if it includes or excludes nonvoters.


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