DOUGLAS SCHWARTZ: Political Polling-How do they do it?: September 5th, 7:30PM, The Salisbury School

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Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, explained the methodology behind the influential organization’s work at the Salisbury Forum on Friday, Sept. 5, at the Salisbury School.

Schwartz said the Quinnipiac Poll began in 1988 as an educational tool, an aid in the study of survey research. After six years the polls were well-established and well-received, and the university decided to expand into New York state, New York City and New Jersey as well as Connecticut.

Schwartz joined in 1994, and soon after, the decision was made to take the poll national.

“We wanted to get national attention but to do it in a way other folks weren’t doing it.”

Between the elections of 2000 and 2008, Quinnipiac started polling swing states — Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania.

“Since 1960 everyone elected president won two of these three.”

In 2016, the poll will add three more swing states — Iowa, Virginia and Colorado — for a total of nine states.

Qunnipiac polls on issues as well as elections. “Gay marriage, the death penalty — you name it, we’ve probably polled on it.”

Unlike pollsters who are identified with political parties or groups that favor political parties, Qunnipiac “is completely independent.”

“We will not work with candidates or outside groups. I think that’s why the media and the public trust us.”