In the last presidential election, more than a third of voters did not go to a polling place on Election Day but instead voted ahead of time or by mail.
“Voters are increasingly … challenging exit polls’ ability to fully capture the electorate’s opinion on Election Day unless extensive supplemental telephone polling is also done,” Washington Bureau Chief Sally Buzbee told the Nieman Lab blog, as AP today was awarded a $250,000 grant from the Knight Foundation for a research project called “The Next Generation Beyond Exit Polls.”
“Innovation is required to ensure our work continues to be accurate and complete into the future,” Buzbee added.
AP works with a consortium, the National Election Pool, made up of AP and the networks (ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC), which contracts with the well-respected Edison Media Research to conduct exit polls.
Working with AP’s two polling partners, GfK and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, AP will test new methodologies and methods during a handful of elections this fall and the early 2016 presidential primaries.
The Knight Foundation’s website further describes AP’s research plans and presents our grant proposal.
“One of the things we really appreciate about the Knight Foundation is that work funded by their election challenge grants must be open and transparent,” Buzbee said. “That pleases us.”
Here are bios of the AP team leading this effort:
Sally Buzbee is a vice president of The Associated Press and has been its Washington bureau chief since 2010. Under her leadership, an AP investigative team won the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for its probe of the New York Police Department’s intelligence activities following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
David Pace is a Washington-based news editor for The Associated Press who organizes and supervises the news agency’s election race calling operation. For each national election, he recruits and trains a team of about 40 of the AP’s top reporters, editors and managers to call winners in more than 4,000 national and state races.
Emily Swanson has been a member of the Associated Press polling unit in Washington since 2014. She designs survey questionnaires, analyzes polling data and writes about public opinion. She previously worked in survey research for Pollster.com and the Huffington Post.