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The leading association
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American Association for Public Opinion Research

August 2016

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by Roger Tourangeau, President
​Are the polls getting worse? 
In the U.K., the polls were, in the aggregate, pretty far off in predicting the outcome of the 2015 Parliamentary election.  A blue ribbon panel led by Patrick Sturgis concluded that “The opinion polls in the weeks and months leading up to the 2015 General Election substantially underestimated the lead of the Conservatives… In historical terms, the 2015 polls were some of the most inaccurate since election polling first began in the UK in 1945.”  The report by Sturgis and his colleagues also notes that the polls in the U.K. have often been off in their predictions of the vote shares for the various parties but those errors didn’t get so much publicity in the past because the polls correctly picked the winning party. 
by Jennifer Dykema, 2017 Conference Chair and Trent Buskirk, Assoc. Conference Chair
In her 2016 Presidential Address, Mollyann Brodie challenged AAPOR to move beyond best intentions to take actions that make our organization the “Big Tent” we want it to be: a place that embraces both the evolving nature of the profession as well as the diversity of perspectives and personal characteristics of our existing and potential members, and multicultural country at large. Doing so, she argued, is not just the right thing to do but vital to our continuing relevance and growth.
by Anna Wiencrot, Membership and Chapter Relations Committee Chair, and Morgan Earp, Associate Membership and Chapter Relations Committee Chair
THANK YOU to the nearly 700 of you who participated in the 2016 AAPOR Survey!
The feedback you provided in the annual survey is invaluable and will help us better understand how we can improve AAPOR and our future national conferences. We know you are busy and appreciate your time and feedback. We’ll start sharing results from the survey in next month’s newsletter.
This month we are featuring the Southern Chapter of AAPOR (SAPOR) in our “Chapter Spotlight.” Are you a member of your local chapter? If not, learn more about the chapters here!
by Angelique Uglow, 2016 SAPOR Conference Chair
The Southern Chapter of AAPOR (SAPOR) spans from Virginia down to Texas. While most of our members are located in Raleigh, NC, where the chapter began almost 40 years ago, the SAPOR board has been actively recruiting members from the rest of the states in our region while also working on adding member benefits and networking opportunities. SAPOR’s membership roster includes many states outside of our region as well
by Ashley Kirzinger and Tim Triplett, TICC Co-Chairs
Following up on some fantastic feedback, the AAPOR TICC committee made some substantial changes to the AAPOR TICC website in effort to make it easier to find key information.  Perhaps the most important change will be revising the application portal so that it resides fully on the AAPOR website thereby simplifying the application procedures. We hope to have all the revisions to the website and the new TICC application process completed over the summer.   So if your organization hasn’t joined yet or you were frustrated in the past by the application process, give us another chance.  We really would love to have almost all AAPOR organizations become TI members.    
In conjunction with Poynter.News University, AAPOR has updated the "Understanding and Interpreting Polls" free online course for journalists ahead of the 2016 general election. As the election approaches, journalists are bombarded with data from polls and this course informs media on how to separate the wheat from the chaff to improve reporting about polls and survey results.
There now are more ways than ever to collect useful data. And while a well designed and carefully executed survey still can deliver valid and reliable results, methods and details matter more than ever.