Pulse Opinion Research collects data for its survey research using an automated polling methodology. Automated polling systems use a single, digitally-recorded, voice to conduct the interview while traditional firms rely on phone banks, boiler rooms, and operator-assisted technology.
All survey questions are digitally recorded and fed to a calling program that determines question order, branching options, and other factors. Calls are placed to randomly-selected phone numbers through a process that insures appropriate geographic representation. Typically, calls are placed from 5 pm to 9 pm local time during the week. Saturday calls are made from 11 am to 6 pm local time and Sunday calls from 1 pm to 9 pm local time.
To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Pulse Opinion Research uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel.
After the calls are completed, the raw data is processed through a weighting program to insure that the sample reflects the overall population in terms of age, race, gender, political party, and other factors. The processing step is required because different segments of the population answer the phone in different ways. For example, women answer the phone more than men, older people are home more and answer more than younger people, and rural residents typically answer the phone more frequently than urban residents.
For surveys of all adults, the population targets are determined by census bureau data.
For political surveys, census bureau data provides a starting point and a series of screening questions are used to determine likely voters. The questions involve voting history, interest in the current campaign, and likely voting intentions.
Pulse Opinion Research determines its partisan weighting targets through a dynamic weighting system that takes into account the state’s voting history, national trends, and recent polling in a particular state or geographic area.