The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday November 30th

New N.C. political polling firm seeks youth voices

Last month, American Insights released its first signature poll, which included topics like the economy, the Affordable Care Act and the state’s elected leaders. Representatives say the firm hopes to reach younger demographics by embracing multiple survey mediums.

American Insights will contact voters by landline phone, cellphone and online, a combination known as the Triple Helix.

Today, only 40 to 50 percent of Americans are strictly cellphone users, said Pearce Godwin , insights director of American Insights. The firm will work to reach a wider scope of the population through the Triple Helix method, he said.

“We aim to be as objective as possible in our questions and methodology,” Godwin said.

Out of polling groups based in North Carolina, the left-leaning Public Policy Polling dominates.

Public Policy Polling does not call cellphones as part of its surveys, said Jason Husser , a political science professor and assistant director of the Elon University Poll .

Husser said he believes polls are an expression of the voices of people and that they explain much more about the population than elections do.

“There have been fewer massive political realignments in the United States today than in the past, probably because of polls,” Husser said.

American Insights will try to ask questions that have not typically been asked before, Godwin said. For example, instead of asking for a person’s opinion about the Affordable Care Act, American Insights surveys sought to learn about expected implications of the Act’s passage.

“We want to find out what long term impact it will have and what may make a difference next time in a similar roll-out,” Godwin said.

American Insights also plans for its website to be a new hub for the aggregation of all polling data, in addition to providing its own research.

“We’re excited to provide as a hub for data and intelligence on topics of interest, featuring our exclusive AI Trend Charts , which aggregate all North Carolina polling data on key topics, providing a one-stop snapshot of current trends in the state,” said Grant Fitzgerald , a spokesman for American Insights.

Other North Carolina polling groups include the High Point University Poll and the right-leaning Civitas Institute .

Tom Jensen , director of Public Policy Polling, said it is always good to have more polling companies in order to get a greater average of opinions.

“We’ve seen over the years that it’s better to pay attention to the averages that are out there rather than fixating on any individual poll.”


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