Poll Hub

New Polling Method at CNN & Changing White Evangelicals

Episode Summary

Ever since 2016, the public opinion polling industry has been working to address growing challenges with election surveys. CNN is the latest to adopt new polling methods and the network’s Director of Polling and Election Analytics, Jennifer Agiesta, joins us to discuss. Then, we dig into what it means to be a “White Evangelical” in 2021. Is it more about politics than religion than it once was? Finally, we phone the 1930’s with our fun fact!

Episode Notes

Out with the old and in with the new. CNN is updating its polling methodologies with a new approach that relies on one of the older polling modes: snail mail. Why? As with nearly all quality pollsters, CNN has had issues reaching a truly representative sample of people across America’s political groups. Jennifer Agiesta explains what’s behind the change and how she hopes it will help.

In another issue facing pollsters, a key demographic group, “White Evangelicals,” has both grown and changed. They are a critical core part of Donald Trump’s base, but they appear to be different in significant ways from self-identified white evangelical voters of the past. For instance, they appear to share a political viewpoint more than a religious one. How should pollsters respond in reporting their numbers and influence?

Finally, can you imagine a time without a phone? Lee’s fun fact this week takes it all the way back to 1937 to ask who had a telephone in their home.

Jennifer Agiesta is the Director of Polling and Election Analytics at CNN. Follow her on Twitter @jennagiesta.


About Poll Hub

Each week, Poll Hub goes behind the science to explain how polling works, what polls really show, and what the numbers really mean. Poll Hub is produced by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, home of America’s leading independent college public opinion poll, the Marist Poll.

Lee Miringoff (Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion), Barbara Carvalho (Director of the Marist Poll), and Jay DeDapper (Director of Innovation at the Marist Poll) dig deep to give you a look at the inner workings of polls and what they tell us about our world, our country, and ourselves.