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AAPOR
The leading association
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American Association for Public Opinion Research

Wrapping Up the 2020-2021 AAPOR Council Year‎

by Dan Merkle, President
Dan_Merkle.jpgWe are about a month away from AAPOR’s 76th Annual Conference, which will mark the end of the 2020-2021 Council year. The year has really flown by as AAPOR Council has been very busy on many fronts. This year’s Council will go down in the annals of AAPOR history as the only one that has not been able to meet in person. That has made some of our work more challenging, but we’ve adjusted well. Council was as productive as ever, and I’m continually impressed by how hard my fellow Council members, and AAPOR’s more than 250 volunteers, have worked and all they’ve accomplished.

One very important change made this year is that Council voted unanimously to add a new standing committee to Council to oversee our inclusion and diversity efforts, with its chair and associate chair added as new positions on Council. The formation of the new Inclusion and Equity Committee became official as part of the membership vote on AAPOR’s new Bylaws in the fall.

In addition to making changes to the Bylaws, Council undertook two other efforts related to AAPOR’s policies. First, we revised AAPOR’s Conduct Policy which outlines expectations for those who attend or participate in AAPOR events and activities. This too was approved by a membership vote. Second, extensive work has gone into revising and updating AAPOR’s Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. Please take the time to vote on the proposed changes to the Code during the voting period this month.

This year also saw the publication of “A Meeting Place and More…: A History of the American Association for Public Opinion Research,” a comprehensive 380-page follow-up to AAPOR’s 1992 book “A Meeting Place.” In addition, the task force report “Falsification in Surveys” was released, as was a report from the Task Force on 2020 Pre-Election Polling titled the “Performance of the Polls in the Democratic Primaries.” This task force’s report on 2020’s general election polls is expected to be released soon.

This year Council formed some ad hoc committees and working groups to investigate and provide guidance in specific areas. These include the Ad Hoc Committee on Publisher Options which is reviewing options for the publishing of AAPOR’s journals, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Governance of AAPOR’s Journals which is working to propose a structure for the groups that oversee AAPOR’s journals, and the Working Group for A.B. 2257 which will investigate and provide guidance to AAPOR members on California law A.B. 2257 which impacts our industry by classifying respondents in that state as independent contractors.

We’re currently facing some budget challenges as a result of the pandemic, but we’re meeting them head on. The annual conference is our biggest revenue generator. Going to a virtual conference for a second straight year has decreased our revenue. Membership is also down somewhat because of the pandemic. However, we’re fortunate that AAPOR was on very solid financial footing prior to the pandemic. Even though there’s no reason for immediate alarm, Council has formed the Future of AAPOR Finances Working Group which is closely evaluating AAPOR’s current financial status, including the 2021 budget and reserve funds. The group is made up of AAPOR members who have previous experience with AAPOR’s finances, and several current Council members sit in this working group to aid in the financial review. The group will make short-term and long-term recommendations to Council on ways to strengthen our financial situation going forward.  

These are just some examples of the fantastic work being done by Council and AAPOR volunteers. In addition, our Conference Chair Kristen Olson, along with the Conference Committee, volunteers and AAPOR staff, have been working overtime putting together the virtual AAPOR conference. While it’s a disappointment that we won’t be able to meet in person again this year, from everything I’ve seen so far, the virtual conference will be excellent. I hope to “see” you there. Your participation and support mean so much to AAPOR.