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American Association for Public Opinion Research

Election Polling Sections Added to NewsU Course

New Resource for Reporting, Analyzing Election Polls; Special Online Course Helps Journalists go behind the Horserace Numbers  

ST PETERSBURG, FLA., December 18th, 2007 – News University today released 'How Election Polls Work', a special section of an online course on polling interpretation and methodology developed in partnership with the American Association for Public Opinion Research

The free, interactive online course is designed to help journalists and other analysts interpret and report election polls before and after elections.

“Election polls are a special breed of public opinion research,” said Howard Finberg, director, interactive learning, Poynter/NewsU. “There are countless polls being published every day, and they immediately become part of the story line even before any analysis has been done.”

How Election Polls Work gives journalists the tools to understand why good polls can report very different numbers, how to identify trends in voter preference, and how to interpret subgroup responses.

“Election polls provide very different information depending on where we are in the election cycle,” said AAPOR President Nancy Mathiowetz. “The key is knowing what to look for when, and how to best use that information to report on what is happening –and just as important, to explain what happened.”

The course also includes sections on poll interpretation and using numbers aside from horserace reporting:

Interpreting Polls explains how to:  decide what might be the lead of a story, write about subgroups,  look at poll results over time and draw conclusions from those trends, and understand why similar polls might have different results.

Beyond the Horserace includes understanding how exit polls are conducted and what they tell us, and how to use polling data in reporting throughout the election cycle. 

About the American Association for Public Opinion Research

The American Association for Public Opinion Research (www.AAPOR.org) is the leading professional organization of public opinion and survey research professionals in the U.S., with members from academia, media, government, the non-profit sector, and private industry.

About NewsU @ The Poynter Institute

News University is the e-learning home for more than 59,000 journalists, educators and students in 157 countries around the world. NewsU offers more than 50 focused, interactive courses that appeal to journalists at all levels of experience and in all types of media. Many courses take just an hour or two to complete and most are free. NewsU is funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The program is a project of The Poynter Institute, a leader in journalism training. Each year, Poynter conducts seminars in leadership and management; reporting, writing and editing; broadcast and online; ethics and diversity; and visual journalism.