SSRS was able to reach parents and their teens to help the University of Notre Dame better understand their civic engagement, political discussions, and attitudes, and how may have evolved before and after the 2020 presidential election.


Reaching both parents and their teens to examine and compare their opinions and experiences is no easy task. It involves identifying a random sample of parents, recruiting the parents to participate, and then obtaining cooperation from their teen, a particularly elusive group. This study had the added challenge of wanting to do a repeat survey six months later with the same group of respondents.


SSRS was able to achieve the goals for this study by sampling and recruiting parents largely from the SSRS Opinion Panel, SSRS’s unique probability-based online panel, supplemented with recruits from an opt-in online panel. The SSRS Opinion Panel provided the basis for projecting the findings and the opt-in sample allow us to recruit a larger number of respondents.


SSRS interviewed more than 800 parent/teen dyads at Time 1, just prior to the 2020 election. We followed up with those parents and teens six months later in 2021 and were able to reinterview 648 dyads (an 80% recontact rate). We were also able to reengage selected respondents a year later (2022) to participate in a follow-up Zoom interview, getting more in-depth on these topics and gauging how opinions may have evolved further.

The data from this study will shed light on the frequency with which families discuss civic life and politics and the amount of influence parents’ opinions have on teens. Ultimately, these data will help researchers better understand what makes for an informed citizenry.