Opinion Polling: Letting Voices Be Heard
Opinion polling is widely used—by political parties, advocacy groups, and the media—to gauge support for candidates, policies, issues, and messages. But in today’s hyper-partisan climate, the Emerson College Polling Society (ECPS) believes that polling’s most important function is this: allowing the voice of ordinary citizens to be heard above the din of well-funded interests.
By supporting ECPS’s month-long, $5,000 campaign, you help ensure those voices will be heard and amplified through our polling activities. Your gift also empowers Emerson students to gain valuable hands-on skills, experience and professional connections that open doors in the political world and the private sector.
ECPS members, from left to right: Ash Ramani, Hannah Ritter, Chris Kane, Susannah Sudborough, and Tina Safford.
A small footprint with a big impact
As the only student-run polling group in the U.S., ECPS plans, conducts, analyzes and publishes up to a dozen polls a year. Despite limited financial resources, we gain maximum impact by focusing our efforts on high-visibility races and issues that have national significance. A few examples from the past 12 months:
- October 2014: We are currently polling the Massachusetts governor's race, and two congressional races in the 6th District and 9th District.
- September 2014: ECPS conducted a nationwide survey on the NFL’s handling of domestic abuse allegations, highlighting stark differences of opinion across regions and racial lines and between the sexes.
April to November 2014: In the run-up to
the Democratic primary for the Massachusetts 6th
Congressional District, our polling correctly showed political newcomer
Seth Moulton had come from 42 points down and was on the verge of overtaking
longtime incumbent John Tierney. Moulton went on to upset Tierney, winning the
primary by nine points. ECPS will continue to follow the race until election
- November 2013: In the final days of the Virginia governor’s race, which was one of the most closely watched contests of 2013, an ECPS poll delivered the most accurate prediction of the final race results, which Democrat Terry McAuliffe won over ultra-conservative Ken Cuccinelli by less than three points.
- October 2013: ECPS was the only polling outfit in the country to cover the Massachusetts Special election for US Congress won by Katherine Clark
We contribute to the national conversation ECPS poll results are routinely highlighted in regional and national media, including those listed below. In addition, our members often field press inquiries from television, radio and online reporters.
- Wall Street Journal
- Washington Post
- Yahoo! News
- Huffington Post
- Hardball with Chris Matthews
- Real Clear Politics
- Fox Latino
- The Hill
- The Daily Kos
- Associated Press
- WCVB-TV/Channel 5
- Fox 25
- Boston Herald
Your gift will allow ECPS to expand its reach
Polling is an expensive undertaking. Each poll costs between $1,800 and $2,700. Costs include the purchase of a representative voter sample, data collection services, and distribution of polling results to media outlets. ECPS is partially funded by the 2014 President’s Fund for Curricular Innovation. However to ensure the independence and integrity of our polling efforts while expanding our reach, we need to raise additional funds for this academic year.
Your gift will enable us to undertake the following activities:
- Poll key statewide elections and ballot initiatives.
- Bring top polling professions to campus. In mid-November, ECPS will host a day-long, post-election visit by Mark Blumenthal, senior polling editor for the Huffington Post. In an evening presentation open to the public, he will offer his insights on midterm election results.
- Conduct a campus-wide sustainability survey. We will survey the Emerson community’s awareness of global sustainability issues such as climate change, fracking, large-scale toxic spills, and other environmental disasters.
- Check some items off our wish list. Funds that exceed our campaign goal will be used to upgrade our online survey tools and purchase a large-screen display to support our collaborative processes and tutorials for new pollsters.
ECPS polls are administered by telephone, using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. This method provides a highly reliable system of data collection, while ensuring a consistent interview experience for all participants. Visit the ECPS web site for a detailed description of our methodology http://www.theecps.com/#!methodology/c1iwz.
Here’s where you can find ECPS (our polls, press releases, and where we have been published!):
Ruby Huber, Director of Photography
Currently on a 3-day field trip to our nation's capitol, ECPS members have been meeting with Emerson alumni working in politics and government. On Thursday, we visited polling society alum Juliet Albin, Emerson '14, who works as a legislative aide in the office of Massachusetts Congressman Mike Capuano. Pictured, left to right, are Ash Ramani, Tina Safford, Cabot Lee Petoia, Juliet Albin, Hannah Ritter and Christine Kane.
Blumenthal discussed the gains made by the GOP in recent elections, and why polls could not predict the magnitude of their win.
While here, he spent time personally getting to know the ECPS team.
Check out this write up of the event in CommonWealth Magazine: http://www.commonwealthmagazine.org/Voices/Perspective/Online-Perspectives-2014/Fall/019-Polling-expert-analyzes-midterm-GOP-gains.aspx#.VGpF6lfF80u
On Thursday, members of ECPS wrapped up the election cycle, by discussing recent polls, and their experience in the organization as a whole, on Emerson’s WECB radio channel.
We’ve also recently been interviewed by the Berkley Beacon - the Emerson College Newspaper about our USEED campaign and how ECPS functions within the Emerson Community. The paper interviewed advisor Spencer Kimball and Social Media Coordinator Hannah RItter.
Ti ng Dong
Karen Munkacy MD
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Make an Impact
Many small gifts can make a big difference!
30 to 50 gifts allow ECPS to purchase a “sample”: the randomly chosen voter calling list used in a single poll.
16 to 24 gifts pay for data collection: the process of calling voters and asking their opinions on an election or issue.
4 gifts cover the cost of publicizing the results of one poll
2 gifts allow us to bring a top pollster to campus.
1 gift pays all the costs of conducting a single poll.