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American Association for Public Opinion Research

Webinar Details

Accuracy in Election Polling: Lessons from 2016 for Covering 2020

Courtney Kennedy and Emily Guskin
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
11:00 AM Eastern Time

Registration works best using Chrome or Firefox.

The live and recorded versions of this webinar are free!

About This Course:

The tidal wave of polling on the 2020 presidential race is building, but what do all the numbers mean? How should journalists use polls through the primary season and into the general election?
For journalists grappling with conflicting results, margins of error and polls conducted by text, the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) is offering a webinar for journalists on January 15, 2020, 11:00 am Eastern time. The webinar will look back the polls’ performance in 2016 (surprise, the polls did pretty well) and forward to 2020 to give journalists the tools to report reliably on what the polls are showing.
AAPOR, the nation’s leading professional organization of survey researchers, offers a wealth of material and guidance on how to handle polls. And AAPOR has experts who are ready to answer questions from journalists stumped by the latest poll hand-out through the election year.

From what a journalist must ask about a poll before even writing the first word to figuring out if Biden is really ahead of Warren in South Carolina, the webinar will go in-depth on the potential pitfalls that face journalists every day in reporting on poll results. The explosion of polling methods from IVR to text surveys, the plethora of samples (RDD, RBS, Voter files and on) and the emergence of new polling organizations all pose a challenge for journalists.
Journalists participating in the online webinar will have the chance to ask their questions about polling and 2020.

Webinar Level:
About the Instructors:

Kennedy-Pic-sm.jpgCourtney Kennedy is director of survey research at Pew Research Center. In this role, she serves as the chief survey methodologist for the Center, providing guidance on all of its research and leading its methodology work. Recently, she chaired AAPOR’s Evaluation of 2016 U.S. Election Polls. Prior to joining Pew Research Center, Kennedy served as vice president of the advanced methods group at Abt SRBI, where she was responsible for designing complex surveys, developing data collection methodologies and assessing data quality. Her work has been published in Public Opinion Quarterly, the Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology and the Journal of Official Statistics. She has worked as a statistical consultant on the U.S. Census Bureau’s decennial census and on multiple reports appearing in Newsweek. Kennedy has a doctorate from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, both in survey methodology. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

guskine2.jpgEmily Guskin is the polling analyst at The Washington Post, specializing in public opinion about politics, election campaigns and public policy. The polling team works alongside reporters throughout the newsroom and conducts polls at the national and local levels. In addition to writing questionnaires and analyzing data, Emily also vets polls for internal usage, advises reporters on how to cover and write about polls, and sources polling data for reporters looking for public opinion data points for their stories.
Before joining The Post in 2016, Emily was a research manager at APCO Worldwide and, prior to that, she was a research analyst at the Pew Research Center's Journalism Project. She interned at ABC News’ polling unit in 2008. She has a master’s in public policy from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University and undergraduate degrees in communication and government and politics from the University of Maryland in College Park.
Emily currently serves as the chair of AAPOR’s Journalism Education subcommittee, where she leads a committee to help raise journalists’ awareness of AAPOR’s offerings and to provide them with the tools to properly cover polls.