The UMass Poll at UMass Amherst combines cutting edge Internet polling technology with leading expertise in political science. The result of this merger is accurate, cost-efficient, and swift survey results on the issues most important to Massachusetts residents.
Service to the Community, State, and Region
Research indicates strong links between the civic health of a community, the quality of governance, and the strength of an economy. Yet New England currently exhibits weak indicators of civic health. Moreover, no institution is responsible for gathering critical information to regularly assess civic health, and any data, therefore, is haphazardly collected, archived, and disseminated. As the flagship public University, UMass Amherst has a responsibility to fill this gap. Data and research produced by the UMass Poll is an invaluable resource for communities, public officials, and the press.
Opportunities for UMass Students
The UMass Poll provides opportunities for undergraduate students to work closely with faculty and learn some of the most valuable and on-demand skills for employment including data collection and analysis, skills which simply cannot be picked up in the classroom. UMass Poll offers a new model for undergraduate education by making hands-on research for students a vital component of education.
Our statewide surveys are conducted by YouGov a firm that has conducted surveys for a variety of clients, including the Economist. YouGov relies on cutting edge statistical techniques to survey respondents online and then produce a representative sample of the target population.
According to Fivethirtyeight.com, YouGov was rated as one of the most accurate pollsters in 2012.
The same year, UMass Poll partner YouGov was rated by Nate Silver of the New York Times as one of the most accurate pollsters, with an error rate of just 2.6%. This error rate was smaller those registered by well-known firms such as Washington Post/ABC News (2.8%), Rasmussen (4.2%), Mason-Dixon (5.4%), and Gallup (7.2%).
Locally, YouGov produced the most accurate poll in the closing days of the 2012 Massachusetts Senate campaign. The final poll conducted in Massachusetts by YouGov showed Warren ahead by 7 points; she ultimately won by a margin of 7.5 points.
Moreover, a recent study conducted by scholars at UMass and Harvard University demonstrates that YouGov samples are at least as accurate as telephone surveys on most measures.
Brian F. Schaffner
Raymond La Raja