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What is a "frequency"?
What is a "crosstab"?
What are "general population" surveys?
What are "registered voter" surveys?
What are "likely voter" surveys?
Why are all of the Eagleton polls numbered, and what do the numbers mean?
What does it mean when survey data have been "weighted"?
Why does the total number of respondents in my frequency or crosstab not match the total number in the survey?
How can I tell if a survey is "good" or reliable?
How do I download the survey questionnaire or the complete data file?
Why isnít the most recent poll here?
MORE INFORMATION
What is a "frequency"?

     A frequency is the breakdown of answers to a specific poll question, usually expressed in percentages. The table below shows a hypothetical frequency for a question about Governor Xís job performance Ė 48 percent of respondents said they approved, 48 percent disapproved, and 4 percent did not have an opinion.

Governor X Total
Approve 48%
Disapprove 48%
Donít know 4%
Total 100%




What is a "crosstab"?

     A crosstabulation or "crosstab" is a table that shows how the answers to one poll question break down according to the answers to another poll question. For example, if you crossed a governorís approval rating by respondent gender, the crosstab table would show you how each gender group in the survey feels about the governorís job performance. In the hypothetical crosstab below, the first column shows the total frequency for the governorís job rating among the entire sample. The second column shows the frequency for Governor Xís job approval among women and the final column shows the frequency among men

Governor X Total Women Men
Approve 48%44%56%
Disapprove 48%52%40%
Donít know 4%4%4%
Total 100%100%100%




What are "general population" surveys?

     General population surveys are polls using a random sample of all adults (18 years of age and older).



What are "registered voter" surveys?

     Registered voter surveys are surveys that include a random sample of only those who report that they are registered to vote at their current address.



What are "likely voter" surveys?

     Likely voter surveys are surveys of those registered voters (see above) who are considered likely to participate in an upcoming election. Determination of likelihood to vote may vary from year to year, or poll to poll, but typically these voters are those who say they are likely to vote, show some level of interest in or attention to the election in question, and have voted in the past.



Why are all of the Eagleton polls numbered, and what do the numbers mean?

     The Eagleton poll has numbered all of its public polls consecutively since it began polling in 1971. The numbers are a means of organizing the surveys chronologically.



What does it mean when survey data have been "weighted"?

     After conducting a survey the random sample of respondents interviewed is compared to the general population on certain demographic characteristics (typically age and education), using U.S. Census figures. Typically there are small discrepancies between the sample in the survey and the general population. The Eagleton Poll corrects these small discrepancies by applying a small mathematical correction Ė or weight Ė to each respondent, to make the sample as representative as possible. These weights rarely change the results of the survey by more than one or two percentage points.



Why does the total number of respondents in my frequency or crosstab not match the total number in the survey?

     Occasionally some questions in a survey are asked of only a sub-group of respondents rather than of the entire sample. For example, if the survey was asking a few questions of New Jersey commuters in a sample of all adults, it would first determine which respondents commute and then ask commuting questions of only that sub-group that does, since the commuting questions would not apply to those who do not commute. All of the survey questionnaires should make clear when and if this is occurring. If you have a question about the number of respondents in a frequency, check the questionnaire to see if questions that came before yours were used to filter out respondents to whom the your question did not apply.



How can I tell if a survey is "good" or reliable?

     The National Council on Public Pollsí website has the twenty questions every poll consumer should ask about a survey to judge its quality.
Visit the site at: http://www.ncpp.org/?q=node/4



How do I download the survey questionnaire or the complete data file?

     After you have completed a search or browse function, you will see a list of questions that can be selected to generate frequency or cross-tab tables. On the sidebar, there are two functions labeled "View Questionnaire" and "Download Data File". Selecting "View Questionnaire" will launch Adobe Acrobat Reader and allow you to view the complete survey questionnaire. Using the "File" menu in your browser, you can either print the questionnaire or download the pdf file to your local computer.
     Selecting "Download Data File" will allow you to download the complete SPSS numeric data file in .por (portable) format. This format can be read directly by SPSS or SAS software that is installed on a local workstation.



Why isnít the most recent poll here?

     The results from each survey are released over the course of a few months. As such, there is a year lag between the time a poll is conducted and when it is posted to this website.



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For more specific questions about the Eagleton Pollís methodology, please visit the pollís current website at: http://eagletonpoll.rutgers.edu

For more general polling information, visit the website of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) at: http://www.aapor.org
AAPOR is a professional organization of public opinion researchers. All of Eagletonís polling conforms to the methodological standards established by AAPOR.