SSRS Opinion Panel

Rigorous Standards Combine Accuracy, Flexibility, and Affordability

SSRS Opinion Panel Background

The SSRS Opinion Panel is a nationally representative probability-based panel of U.S. adults age 18 or older. The hallmarks of the SSRS Opinion Panel are methodological rigor, accuracy, affordability, mode flexibility, and representativeness. Our panel is actively used by major academic institutions, media organizations, and other private sector entities – both in the U.S. and abroad.

As a charter member of the AAPOR (American Association for Public Opinion Research) Transparency Initiative, SSRS is committed to full compliance of AAPOR standards and transparency.

Our highly experienced SSRS Opinion Panel team stands ready to support both data collection and client analytic needs. We work closely with clients from the early project planning stages to developing and delivering effective customized solutions. Our services include questionnaire design, questionnaire programming and hosting, user experience (UX) testing, cognitive interviews, data collection, statistical weighting, and data analysis and reporting. Specific SSRS Opinion Panel services include:

  • Questionnaire design consultation that meets industry best practices.
  • Methodological consultation.
  • Highly collaborative team that works closely in meeting client schedules.
  • Design and implementation of subpopulation-specific surveys that leverage panelist profile data, such as for surveys of Hispanics, people with specific health insurance statuses, caregivers, parents, registered voters, and people with different chronic health conditions.
  • Establishment and maintenance of custom proprietary panels.

SSRS Opinion Panel members are recruited randomly based on nationally representative Address Based Sample (ABS) design (including Hawaii and Alaska). ABS sample is drawn from the Delivery Sequence File (DSF) maintained by the U.S. Postal Service. Population coverage of the DSF is in the 98%-99% range.

During the recruitment process, full demographic information on panelists is collected. This data is stored securely and used to determine eligibility for specific studies (if needed). We also rely on these data to improve the survey experience for panelists by avoiding the need to re-ask demographic questions with each survey.

The SSRS Opinion Panel is a multi-mode panel. All internet respondents participate via web and all non-internet/web reluctant respondents participate via phone. SSRS’s own research on non-internet respondents suggests that more than 8 in 10 non-internet respondents are unwilling to take surveys via web. SSRS has therefore made a decision not to provide internet access to non-internet respondents as providing internet access does not effectively address the coverage bias of non-internet respondents. By definition, non-internet cases need to be contacted via a non-internet mode.

Samples are drawn among panel members to best meet the study criteria. Selected panelists are sent an email invitation to participate in the survey, including unique survey link. The link allows the respondent to complete the self-administered online survey. Our contact protocol also includes a text survey reminder for panelists that have consented to receiving text messages. All telephone interviews are conducted using a CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) system. Interviewers ask to speak with the person at that number by name who is a member of the SSRS Opinion Panel

For studies that need completion via a singular web mode yet seek to ensure national representation, the SSRS Methods, Analytics and Data Science (MADS) Group has developed a proprietary propensity weighting solution that takes estimates derived for the U.S. adult internet population and adjusts them to mirror the full U.S. adult population (see the section on weighting).

The SSRS Opinion Panel also includes panelists who are primarily Spanish speakers. We translate and conduct surveys in Spanish as required by a specific project.

SSRS web surveys comply with industry best practices. They are optimized for smartphone/mobile device administration and are adapted to all operating systems and browsers.

SSRS Opinion Panel data is weighted to be representative of the entire residential adult population in the United States. The first step in the weighting process is the application of a base weight that accounts for the ABS sample design and the within-household sampling of one adult. For studies that opt to have no telephone component, we then apply a proprietary model-based non-internet propensity adjustment so that results are representative of all adults and not just those who have access to the internet.

Following the base weight, the panel is calibrated to correct for differential participation along demographics such as age, race, sex, region, and education. Benchmark distributions are obtained from the most recently available data from sources such as the Current Population Survey (CPS), the American Community Survey (ACS), the Pew Research Center’s National Public Opinion Reference Survey (NPORS), and the Aristotle Registered Voter Database. Additionally, online panelists are known to be more civically engaged than the general population. To correct for this potential bias, we include volunteerism and interaction with neighbors in panel calibration. These benchmark distributions are derived from the Civic Engagement and Volunteer Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

Most recent research suggests that full probability samples provide the most accurate data. Surveys that utilize a probability sample combined with an opt-in sample are less accurate than surveys of full probability samples. Least accurate are surveys comprised entirely of opt-in panel sample*. The SSRS Opinion Panel is a fully probability-based panel because it recruits randomly selected panelists from a probability-based sample source that reflects the full U.S. adult population (ABS). Results obtained from this panel can statistically represent the target population with a known margin of error. Unlike typical opt-in panels, no one can “volunteer” to be part of the SSRS Opinion Panel. They must be selected randomly and invited to participate.

*The Accuracy of Measurement with probability and non-probability survey samples by Bo MacInnis, Jon A. Krosnick, Annabell S. Ho, Mu-Jung Cho, POQ, Vol 82, No. 4, Winter 2018, pp. 707-744

SSRS Opinion Panel standard deliverables include a weighted SPSS data file including standard demographic variables and an AAPOR compliant methods statement with response rate calculations provided after completion of all data collection and weighting. Upon request, we can also provide access to an online dashboard that provides near real-time project updates during data collection.

SSRS is a full-service non-partisan public opinion firm. In addition to standard deliverables, our deliverables and other offered services are fully customizable to client needs.

A battery of demographic and other questions is asked during the recruitment of panelists. These questions are stored securely and kept for identifying target respondents, used for weighting, and can be appended to study data to expand what is known about respondents. Demographics are typically not re-asked for every survey unless there is reason to believe that the data could have changed in a meaningful way. Available demographics are provided in the table.

SSRS opinion panel demographics_August 2022

SSRS Opinion Panel Video

The SSRS Opinion Panel is proud to be the data collection partner of choice for major media organizations, academic institutions and foundations.  View our short, informative video and learn more about how it works!


Download the SSRS Opinion Panel Methodology


SSRS Opinion Panel Data and Infographics

SSRS does short studies on unique and timely topics to demonstrate the power and breadth of our research services. The studies use our portfolio of survey options, including the SSRS Omnibus, the SSRS Opinion Panel, the SSRS Sports Poll, and more. Each study is packaged in an infographic that summarizes the findings and delivers the bottom lines. View our most recent infographics.



Testimonials from SSRS Opinion Panel Members

I truly appreciate the opportunity to share my opinions on the topics that effect everyday Americans, especially at a time when many feel that their voices aren′t being heard. Thank you!

– Kara LaSorsa, SSRS Opinion Panel Member

I have enjoyed immensely reading and responding to SSRS surveys. The insightful questions help me to organize my thoughts on many important and urgent questions of our time. I believe my relationship with SSRS has helped to make me a better and more engaged citizen.

– Andrew Newman, SSRS Opinion Panel Member

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