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The leading association
of public opinion and
survey research professionals
American Association for Public Opinion Research

Public Opinion Topics

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Member Price: $130.00
Nonmember Price: $175.00

Student pricing available

Identifying Likely Voters in Pre-Election Surveys
About This Course:

Election polls face a unique problem in survey research: They are asked to identify a population that does not yet exist at the time the poll is conducted, the future electorate. For instance, in a typical telephone survey before a midterm election, something on the order of 80-90% of registered voters say they will vote when in fact we know it’s often closer to 40%. This is because many people who are eligible to vote and who tell pollsters they intend to cast a ballot will not actually do so. Similarly, some people who express uncertainty about voting or little interest in the election will nevertheless turn out to vote. Likely voter models are used by pollsters to identify exactly that: people who are actually likely to vote in the upcoming election. This webinar examines the importance of such models and a variety of approaches used by pollsters to capture this population. Among the topics to be covered are the types of samples used for pre-election polls; the survey questions used to measure past behavior and gauge voting intentions and engagement in the election; and the modeling approaches used to combine the survey questions and records of past turnout to yield a forecast.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Understand why likely voter models are necessary in election polling.
  • Identify typical questions included in likely voter models.
  • Understand the types of likely voter models typically used, including probabilistic and deterministic (cut-off) methods.
  • List a variety of voter file options and why they can be useful for election research.

The Elephant is Still in the Room: Racial Attitudes and Public Opinion
About This Course:
This course will examine different perspectives on measuring and understanding racial attitudes in surveys of public opinion. While volumes of social science research find racial attitudes are vital to understanding both racial and non-racial issues—as well as the practice of surveying the public (e.g., interviewing practices, and questionnaire design)—data collection and analysis of racial information in public opinion surveys is episodic at best. We will provide participants with an overview of the major trends in racial attitudes of whites and blacks in the United States, as documented by survey research beginning in the 1940s and extending up until today. We will review examples of subtle and overt racial attitudes, and provide examples of innovative approaches to measurement to uncover what they can reveal about this sensitive, complex, and critical area of social life.

Learning Objectives:
  • Explain how the racial attitudes of whites and blacks have changed--or not--over the past 75 years or so.
  • List the different categories of racial attitudes: implicit/explicit, overt/subtle, prejudice/racism/discrimination and what survey research and survey-based experiments can reveal about them.
  • Identify and propose resources for researchers and journalists who seek to understand and report on racial attitudes and race relations.

Public Opinion on the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, was signed into law in March 2010, enacting the most comprehensive changes to the U.S. health care system since Medicare was established in 1965. While individual pieces of the law have been rolled out at various times since the law was passed, the major expansions of insurance coverage began in January 2014. Partisan division in opinion of the law has existed since its enactment and throughout the implementation, making the ACA a heated topic of debate heading into the 2014 midterm elections. Join us for a 90-minute webinar to learn the basics of the Affordable Care Act and explore how public attitudes toward the ACA have evolved since the law’s passage, where they stand today, and challenges in capturing and measuring impacts of the law through public opinion surveys.

Learning Objectives
  • Affordable Care Act 101 – What you need to know about the law to understand and interpret public opinion about it.
  • Understanding Views and Opinions of the ACA.
  • Challenges of measuring personal impact of the ACA using opinion surveys.