Quinnipiac University’s polls have become well known throughout the country but nothing brings as much recognition as a spicy presidential contest.
The November showdown for the White House between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton has brought those who do presidential polls, including Quinnipiac a lot of attention — and the election is still four months away.
Doug Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac poll, said, “Yes, we’ve been quite, quite busy.”
One reason it has been so busy, Schwartz said, is that Quinnipiac is doing “a lot of swing state packages,” meaning their telephone bank of callers are compiling results from three different states at one time.
“That means 3,000 voters need to be polled, 1,000 in each state,” said Schwartz. “If we are polling one state, it usually takes us four or five nights to complete a poll. When we are doing three states at once, it can take 10 nights.”
The poll director added that three states that Quinnipiac has polled the most in the swing state packages are Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The Quinnipiac poll has been making some news itself, lately. Recently some of the Quinnipiac presidential polls have shown more support for Trump than other presidential polls.
Critics of the Quinnipiac poll claim that Quinnipiac has too many white voters who they say are more likely to support Trump, and Republican candidates. The poll has also been criticized for stating that Trump has stronger support from Hispanic voters than other national polls have shown.
Schwartz vigorously defends his data.
“There is not a thing we do differently or wrong,” he said. “Nobody knows what the racial composition is going to be when the vote takes place in November.
“Critics of the poll don’t like the results, so they place blame on us,” Schwartz said. “Our demographics are solid. We do solid, good, random sampling of the population.”
When asked if there seems to be more focus on the presidential polls this year than in the past, Schwartz agreed.
“It’s the social media world we all now live in,” Schwartz said, adding that another new aspect to polling is that “there is less vetting by the press because of social media.”
Schwartz continued: “In the past, the media only carried certain polls. Now, anybody who wants to does a poll, with or without much checks and balances, and it’s immediately up on social media.”
Schwartz said he isn’t sure how many more presidential polls Quinnipiac will do between now and November, except that he expects to do a lot of them.
“It kind of depends on campaign developments,” said the poll director, who added that the number of people who conduct the polling, which is a combination of students and employees, will soon increase from its current number of 153 to 200.