There has recently been increased interest, some of it critical, regarding the methods we use to conduct election polls in Hawaii. Our methods are straightforward and based on industry best practices. Our goal is to accurately capture the opinions and intentions of Hawaii’s voters.
For every poll we conduct, we follow a standardized, step-by-step procedure. Even though we may sometimes be surprised by what we find, we are always guided by our data. Because of the nature of political polling, we do have to make some judgment calls along the way. But we fully appreciate that the most important experts about public opinion in Hawaii are you — the public.
Bearing that in mind, here is a brief, step-by-step description of our methods:Step 1: Create an Unbiased Survey
Our most important goal is to understand public opinion in Hawaii without influencing it. We carefully vet every question in each of our surveys for potential sources of bias. And in election surveys, we take the additional step of creating multiple versions of candidate match-up questions so different survey takers hear the candidate’s names in different orders.
For instance, half of the respondents to the current poll answered questions about a Senate race between Brian Schatz and Colleen Hanabusa, while the other half answered questions about a race between Colleen Hanabusa and Brian Schatz. This randomization exceeds industry standards for automated polling (that is to say, surveys where the questions are pre-recorded and responses are indicated by pressing keys on your phone).
We conduct automated surveys because automation reduces bias. Everyone who responds to a survey hears the exact same recordings of each question. This builds in a high degree of quality checking that is not …
About the Authors
Guest ContributorMatthew Fitch is the Executive Director of Merriman River Group. Since co-founding the company in 1998, he has specialized in election management services. Merriman River has been a consultant on some of the world's largest private elections, providing data and technology services to ensure fair and transparent voting while promoting voter participation. Merriman River launched a polling division 2007 with a dual focus on delivering accurate data and detailed analysis.
Guest ContributorSeth Rosenthal is a research methodology consultant to Merriman River Group. He received a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Harvard University, and studied polling methods during a Fellowship at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
We hope you are enjoying your holiday! We’re taking Thursday off and a light day on Friday. But we’ll be back Monday in full swing. Meanwhile, we’re very thankful this holiday for all your support and encouragement.
POTUS And TOTUS
On Wednesday, President Obama did his annual pardoning of a turkey in honor of Thanksgiving. This year, he deemed the turkey formerly known as Abe to be TOTUS, the Turkey of the United States.
Mr. Caldwell’s Penguins
Mayor Kirk Caldwell will be “welcoming” four endangered African penguins to the Honolulu Zoo on Wednesday, according to a press release. Photo op at 1:30 p.m. So how does one welcome a penguin?
But there’s hope around planned rail stations where the city administration wants to concentrate growth.
A time-of-use pilot project on Kauai is expected to bring down costs for people who sign up for it. But it could have future payoffs for all customers.
The past 12 days have focused a spotlight not only on troubling events in Europe and Africa, but on an unseemly wave of panic sweeping America.
The Labor Department says Tomasita Farm Service paid 65 migrant workers from Mexico and Micronesia well below minimum wage.
The $6.6 billion project hangs in the balance until Honolulu’s City Council votes on a 5-year tax extension to cover a $1 billion-plus deficit.
The signs are hard to regulate because they’re put up and taken down before city enforcement can get to them.
Plenty of traditionally trained medical professionals cite evidence that supports many alternative approaches to health care. It’s not an either/or situation.
The SAT and ACT are warmed-over versions of the old IQ tests, but there are much better ways to assess our students today, if only we would use them.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed five bills into law Monday on issues from property taxes to discrimination against women.
Lots of money is being spent in the western U.S. to build rail lines. From Denver to LA to Honolulu, federal officials want to know whether the FTA is doing a good job overseeing those projects.
New Civil Beat columnist: The illusory promise of paradise obscures Hawaii’s fundamental problems.
Peter Apo’s roots may have saved his life when he was on the West Coast. Now he is working to facilitate federal recognition for Hawaiians.
Attorney Eric Seitz joins the Pod Squad to talk about two of his cases: two lesbians recently arrested for kissing in public and a man who died after being shot with a Taser.
Only five weeks remain for public comment on a federal rule to govern relations between the United States and a Native Hawaiian government.
Congress panders as it passes a bill pointlessly targeting Iraqi and Syrian refugees. Also: Iran draws down under the new nuclear deal, and Sand Island moves forward.
Hawaiian Electric wants to offer shockingly lower rates to customers — at least for part of the day.
Six residents are the first to move in to a facility that’s been in the planning stages for more than a year.
In the past two months, 79 cases have been confirmed on the Big Island.
Options will be available to view transcripts of the Hawaii PUC hearing without spending thousands of dollars to buy them from the court reporter.
Under a court-sanctioned agreement, the city’s maintenance crew cannot immediately dispose of most items taken while clearing out homeless encampments.
Rumors are swirling, but Scott Morishige says any action on the state-owned land in Waianae would be based on input from the community and service providers.
For better or worse, millennials can’t look away. They are caring and civic minded, whether the injustices they perceive are trivial or of global importance.