For Pennsylvania Pollster, Your Opinion is Everything
Voice of America News Visits the SSRS Facility, Talks Shop with EVP David Dutwin
“Political opinion polling enjoyed its highest responses in the 1970’s, when most Americans owned several landlines in their homes. In addition, women then were typically at home during the day, with the entire family available during dinnertime. After the social unrest of the 1960’s, people willingly offered their opinions.
But today, only about half of all Americans have home phones, whereas 9 out of 10 have cell phones. U.S. law doesn’t allow companies to call cell phones with recorded messages, so firms like SSRS must employ live telephone interviewers for a mixture of landline and cellphone calls. Dutwin says it’s expensive to pay 300 interviewers but it’s cheaper than doing door-to-door surveys.
“And,” continues Dutwin, “internet surveys aren’t reliable and don’t have the history to really trust them. So telephone interviews is the Goldilocks (perfect place) in the middle.”
Even the middle has its challenges. Dutwin says his interviewers have to call 40 different people to get one person to agree to answer questions.”