Our Survey, by the Numbers

By the end of January, SAM will have completed 1,000 door-to-door surveys in Kansas and 7,000 via email.

Why do these numbers matter?

Our goal is to eventually survey 1 person for every 2,500 in the country. We believe this will give us a concrete picture of what most Amercians in the country are currently thinking in regards to politics. Kansas has a population of 2.9 million people; which means that in order to touch 1 in 2,500 we need roughly 1,000 completed surveys. Kansas, like all states, is ideologically diverse, so the question becomes, how can we make sure our surveys are representative of the entire Kansas population?

SAM’s 1,000 surveys of likely voters will be completed in six Kansas Counties: Douglas, Johnson, Leavenworth, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte. This is due to the fact that nearly 60% of the statewide vote comes from these six counties. When assessing the party affiliations within the six counties, three are distributed evenly between Independents, Republicans, and Democrats; two of the counties skew more Republican; and the last being the sole majority of Democrats by registration.

In order to ensure the overall sample is reflective of the Kansas electorate, specific voter targets will be used in each county based upon a breakdown of Party identification. For example: Douglas County is split evenly between Independent, Republican and Democrat; therefore one-third (1/3) of the voter targets for the survey responses would come from each Party I.D. The voter percentages dictate our splits.

Lastly, the number of survey responses collected in each county will also mirror the total number of votes cast statewide on a weighted percentage basis. Meaning that Johnson County has the highest number of voters of the six counties, therefore the largest number of surveys would be collected from that county. And so on, depending on county voter numbers.

After our in-person surveying effort is complete and analyzed by our analytics partner, we will then be sending out the results to 100,000 targeted email respondents. Unlike the in-field surveys, these will be just a collection of the commonalities found by our data partners within the survey responses in hopes of validating (or disproving) what we’ve heard from the smaller sample across the wider state—all in hopes of confirming that what we’re hearing from the field is indeed what the larger populace of Kansas really thinks.

The survey will target those likeliest to vote, and whose Party Identification is reflective of the breakdown of the state (same as our in-person, but on a larger scale), with the goal of obtaining at least 7,000 responses to strengthen the integrity of our data. It’s only through this unbiased survey collection that SAM will begin to understand the commonalities in what Kansans really care about, in a more direct way.

Our goal is to get to know the Kansas constituency intimately, to provide actionable insights for Kansas based off of what we learn, and bring SAM’s learnings from Kansas to the next states we visit…eventually, the entire nation.

Drisana Hughes

This post was written by Drisana Hughes.

Drisana graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016 with departmental honors in Political Science. While at Penn, she was a Research Assistant in the Political Science Department, Statistics tutor, and Tournament Director of the UPenn Mock Trial team. She previously worked for Morgan Stanley as a Strategic Content Analyst in their Institutional Equities Division before joining SAM.

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