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STATEMENT OF METHODOLOGY FOR HEAD-TO-HEAD 2008 PRESIDENTIAL PAIRINGS
SurveyUSA regularly conducts separate but concurrent statewide public opinion polls in each of the 50 states. Results from these 50 State Tracking Polls are released on SurveyUSA’s website.
Each time SurveyUSA conducts 50 separate but concurrent statewide public opinion polls, at least 30,000 Americans are interviewed, typically over 3 consecutive days, sometimes 4. At least 600 adults age 18+ are interviewed from each state. SurveyUSA asks if the respondent is registered to vote. Approximately 80%, or 500 of the 600 adults in each state, tell SurveyUSA they are registered to vote.
In June 2006, SurveyUSA began adding to its concurrent statewide opinion polls a series of questions that began:
"If there were an election for President of the United States today, and the only two candidates on the ballot were [Republican candidate] and [Democrat candidate], who would you vote for?"
SurveyUSA systematically worked through the most obvious candidates for president. We polled as many probable pairings each month as we were able.
As of 11/13/06, we have completed 60 probable Head-to-Head Pairings. These are the Head-to-Head Pairings that SurveyUSA makes available. For each pairing, there are 51 possible outcomes: one for each of the 50 states and 1 for the District of Columbia. 60 possible pairings x 51 geographies for each pairing equals more than 3,000 separate poll outcomes. More than 200,000 interviews have been completed.
SurveyUSA polls are conducted by telephone. In 48 states, respondents who answer the phone hear an introduction in the digitally mastered voice of a TV news anchor. In Montana and North Dakota, respondent cooperation is first secured by a headset operator. In all states, respondents hear questions asked by a professional announcer. Respondents hear questions asked identically. Respondent households are selected at random, using Random Digit Dialed (RDD) sample provided by Survey Sampling, of Fairfield CT, unless otherwise indicated on an individual poll report. Within the report, you will find: the geography that was surveyed and the date(s) interviews were conducted. The number of respondents who answered each question and the margin of sampling error for each question are provided. For each state, the entire adult respondent population is weighted, where needed, according to age, gender, ethnic origin and geographical region, so that the sample should reflect the actual demographic proportions in the population, using most recent U.S. Census estimates. For the 2008 Presidential Pairings, unregistered voters are then excluded, and the results from registered voters are reported. In theory, with the stated sample size, one can say with 95% certainty that the results would not vary by more than the stated margin of sampling error, in one direction or the other, had the entire universe of respondents been interviewed with complete accuracy. There are other possible sources of error in all surveys that may be more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. These include refusals to be interviewed, question wording and question order. It is difficult to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. Fieldwork for surveys in Montana and North Dakota was done by Western Wats, of Orem, UT. Fieldwork for all other states was done by SurveyUSA of Verona, NJ.
This statement conforms to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
For those survey results which include data crosstabbed by "generation" the definitions are:
For those survey results which include a "Region" crosstab, the regions are defined here.
The 60 available pairings appear below in a list, alphabetized by the candidate’s last name. To make it easier to find a candidate, each Head-to-Head pairing appears twice. For example, the Head-to-Head pairing for Clinton vs Giuliani appears alphabetized both in the Cs and in the Gs. For this reason, there are 120 rows below, mapped to 60 total pairings.
1 Allen vs Clinton
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