Washington Post and UMD to take the Pulse of Maryland Voters

Washington Post and UMD to take the Pulse of Maryland Voters

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The University of Maryland announced today that it is partnering with The Washington Post to poll voters on key social and election-related issues in the state of Maryland. The partnership combines the world-class reporting, polling and public engagement resources of The Post with rigorous academic analysis from UMD’s nationally-renowned Department of Government and Politics.

“The University of Maryland is uniquely positioned to conduct sophisticated data analysis and information visualization,” said Vice President of Research and Chief Research Officer Patrick O’Shea. “With top programs in business, journalism, social, computer, and information sciences, and a location just miles from our nation’s capital, a Washington Post-University of Maryland polling partnership is a natural fit.”

The Washington Post-University of Maryland Poll is designed to provide academics, students and members of the public with insight into both key races and the issues that matter to Maryland voters.

In early October the first iteration of the poll gauged participant views on key topics including: immigration, taxes, education, gay marriage, abortion, job creation and healthcare. Participants were also asked about how race affects their voting decisions, and their perceptions of Gov. O’Malley. The poll also indicated that Brown holds a nine-point lead over Hogan in the Maryland governor's race.

The poll was conducted Oct. 2-5 among a random sampling of 1,005 adult residents of the state of Maryland via live interviews by both conventional and cellular phones. The poll has a plus- or minus- 3.5 percentage point margin of error. Sampling, data collection and tabulation was conducted by Abt-SRBI of New York, New York. The University of Maryland plays a key role in making this information publicly accessible and utilizing it as an educational tool.

"The Washington Post-University of Maryland Poll promises to be very beneficial for the citizens of the state of Maryland. The poll will deliver timely political and policy information. It will also provide an opportunity for us to more thoroughly asses the issues that matter to the state and offer potential explanations and solutions to the most pressing problems,” said Associate Professor of Government and Politics Stella Rouse. “This collaboration will hopefully help bridge the communication gap that sometimes exists between research-based information and relevant public news.”

In addition to its impact as a public education tool, the poll also represents a unique research opportunity for UMD students.

"The poll will advance our research, enrich students’ classroom experiences by allowing them to engage in the design of the questions and analysis of the data, and enhance our ability to provide the public with information on Maryland politics and policy," Associate Professor of Government and Politics Michael Hanmer said.

Professors Rouse and Hanmer also are assistant director and research director, respectively, for The Center for American Politics and Citizenship (CAPC), a nonpartisan, nonprofit research institution at the University of Maryland which addresses major issues of governance. They have worked with students affiliated with CAPC on the design of the poll questions and the analysis of its responses.

The poll is directed by Peyton M. Craighill, The Post’s polling manager, and Scott Clement, a polling survey research analyst for The Post.

“By partnering with the University of Maryland, we’re able to produce more high-quality polls that serve the interest of our readers by providing a better understanding of public opinion in Maryland,” said Craighill. “The partnership also offers offer a unique opportunity for students to gain practical experience in the art and science of polling.”

Post staffers and UMD faculty members will participate in a special event at the University of Maryland to further discuss the poll and related results. The event will be moderated by Al From, founder and former CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council, author of The New Democrats and the Return to Power and member of the CAPC Advisory Board.

Click here for more details about the event.

October 8, 2014

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