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Princeton Survey Research Center

Woodrow Wilson School

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Upcoming and Recent Events


Past Events and Lectures

The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
and the Princeton University Survey Research Center present:

"The Cell Phone-Only Population and its Growing Impact on Telephone Surveys: Evidence from Two Recent Surveys"

zukin Professor Cliff Zukin of Rutgers University discussed two projects from his recent research on the growing cell-phone only population and its impact on telephone surveys. The first study was a dual-frame survey on health care policy, looking specifically at the differences between land line and cell phone samples of New Jersey residents. The second study used new data from the Election Day exit polls, and looked at the growth and distribution of cell phone-only voters and first time voters in the 2008 elections.

Thursday, November 20, 2008
Reception: 5:15 PM
Presentation: 6:00 PM
Wallace Hall, Room 300
Princeton University


“The 2008 Presidential Election: Can the State Polls be Trusted?”

Tuesday October 7, 4:30 PM

Dodds Auditorium
Robertson Hall
Princeton University


Christopher Achen, Associate Chair, Department of Politics, Princeton University
Larry Hugick, Chairman, Princeton Survey Research Associates International
Andrew Gelman, Departments of Statistics and Political Science, Columbia University
Joe Lenski, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder, Edison Media Research

Co-sponsors: Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics, The New York and New Jersey chapters of the American Association for Public Opinion Research

Pollsters routinely point to their industry’s long record of success in predicting the outcome of the popular vote for the U.S. president. However, it is the statewide elections that matter most, since the president is chosen through the Electoral College and not through a national popular vote. In close national elections, reliable state polls and insightful state-level voting analyses are essential parts of predicting electoral votes and the result of the Presidential election, as well as control of the Congress. Given the likelihood of yet another close election in 2008, our ability to predict the ultimate outcome depends greatly on polls taken at the state level. But who is conducting these polls and how much does their reliability vary from state to state? What are the key demographic and social trends that really drive voting trends in the battleground states? Moreover, how will the statewide polls be affected by having, for the first time in history, a major party candidate who is African American?

Click here to view the web simulcast.

"Envisioning the Survey Interview of the Future"

Michael F Schober
Professor of Psychology and
Dean of the New School for Social Research

Michael Schober discussed his recent research on the impact of new and emerging communication technologies on the survey interview and explore methods and criteria that can be used to evaluate these technologies.

Date: Monday December 11, 2006
Time: 4:30 PM
Location: Bowl 016 Robertson Hall

RealVideo: 56K 300K
WM Video: 56K 300K

Lecture on Media Reporting of Public Opinion Polls

On Tuesday, October 3, 2006 Gary Langer, director of polling for ABC News, presented a lecture entitled “When Polls Mislead: Setting Standards for Media Reporting on Public Opinion Surveys.”
Gary Langer
Gary Langer is one of the nation’s leading news pollsters, known for the depth and acuity of his analysis as well as the breadth of his subject matter.  The first and only pollster to have been awarded a news Emmy, Langer has produced influential and groundbreaking surveys on politics, presidential elections, consumer confidence, health care, war and terrorism, education and more—including the first media-sponsored national public opinion polls in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gary Langer's lecture focused on interest groups and public relations agencies that produce a steady flow of manufactured polls, designed not to assess public attitudes or behavior but to promote a product, a client or a point of view.  These kinds of polls are readily absorbed by the news media, filling newspapers and airwaves across the country with pseudo data that misinform and distort public discourse.  Langer provided an overview of these kinds of “promotional” polls and discuss the vetting operation ABC News has put in place to try to elevate the standards for media reporting on public opinion.

The lecture was co-sponsored by the Survey Research Center, the Center for Study of Democratic Politics and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. 

RealVideo: 56K 300K
WM Video: 56K 300K

Sampling Techniques for Hard-To-Reach Populations

Douglas HeckathornOn Thursday, February 9, 2006 Prof. Douglas Heckathorn presented a lecture entitled “Respondent Driven Sampling – A Method for Drawing a Representative Sample of Rare and Hard-To-Reach Populations.” A sociologist at Cornell University, Prof. Heckathorn first developed respondent-driven sampling (RDS) almost ten years ago as a technique for constructing representative samples of rare or hard-to-reach populations, groups that are difficult to study, but often of great interest to social scientists and policy makers.

RDS combines “snowball sampling” (asking respondents to refer people they know to be interviewed, and then asking these individuals to refer additional people, and so on) with a mathematical model that weights the sample to compensate for the fact that the sample was initially collected in a non-random way. This model is based on a synthesis and extension of two areas of mathematics, Markov chain theory and biased network theory, which until RDS were generally not used in scientific sampling theory. RDS enables researchers to provide both unbiased population estimates and measures of the precision of those estimates. This technique extends the realm within which statistically valid samples can be drawn, to include many groups of importance to public health, public policy, and arts and culture.

The lecture was co-sponsored by the Survey Research Center, the Industrial Relations Section, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. 

Whose Morals? What Values?: A Panel Review of the 2004 Presidential Election Polls

Monday, November 29 at 7:00 PM

Reception for NJAPOR members 6:30-7:00 PM

Exit polls in the 2004 presidential election seemed to indicate the importance of moral values as a key issue for supporters of President Bush. When asked to choose from a list of seven issues what was most important in deciding their vote, Bush supporters chose moral values four times more often than Kerry supporters. Some observers have suggested this result says more about problems that can result from a poorly worded survey question than about the ascendance of moral values as a key issue in the election. Others argue, however, that the poll results may signal a key rallying point for social conservatives, a group whose power to sway the election may have been underestimated.

To shed some light on this controversy, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs has assembled a panel of experts that includes Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll, Gary Langer, Director of Polling for ABC News, Murray Edelman, Director of Statistics in the Election and Survey Unit at CBS News, and Larry Bartels, Stokes Professor of Public and International Affairs and Director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics.

The panel presentation is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the Princeton University Survey Research Center and the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics.

Room 016 Robertson Hall, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

RealVideo: 56K 300K
WM Video: 56K 300K

Neither Doves Nor Hawks:
The Re-shuffling of Israeli Public Opinion
on the Middle East Conflict 2000-2003

Tamar S. Hermann

Director of the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research
    Tel Aviv University
Chairperson of the Department of Sociology and Political Science
    The Open University of Israel

4:30 p.m., Thursday, May 1, 2003

Robertson Hall, Bowl 016

Dr. Hermann’s research specialization and publications focus on the making of foreign policy, public opinion and national security, and Israeli politics and extra-parliamentary activity, especially that of peace movements.  She is the author of many articles, books, and edited volumes, including National Security and Public Policy in Israel; The Israeli-Arab Peace Negotiations- Politics and Concepts; Integration or Separation: Examination of the Future Relations Between Israel and the Palestinian State; and Crack in the Israeli Identity.

Photo of Tamar HermannDr. Hermann was a research fellow at the Center for International Studies at Princeton University and at the International Center for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University.  She served as the principal investigator of the Israeli research team with the International Study of Peace Organizations, sponsored by the Non-Profit Sector, Aspen Institute, Washington, DC, and as the principal investigator of  “Coming Out of Violence”, an international project coordinated by INCORE, Ulster University, North Ireland.

RealVideo: 56K 300K
WM Video: 56K 300K

For more information, contact Ed Freeland at 609-258-1854 or