Associations not only conduct their own surveys, but they also often use surveys by other organizations and polling firms to inform their decisions, especially related to advocacy issues. The question is, can you trust them?
The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) launched a program in October 2014 called the Transparency Initiative (TI) to help people make good judgments about the quality of data coming from those polls.
“We have 50 organizations who are members of TI, and on our website you can see elements they’ve agreed to disclose, such as how they chose respondents, who conducted and paid for the poll, and how it was conducted,” says Mollyann Brodie, Ph.D., president of AAPOR. Nonprofit charter members include AARP, the Urban Institute, and various foundations and universities.
AAPOR also offers a free online polling course through News U at the Poynter Institute to help the public understand polls and ways to interpret them. Next on the schedule: refreshing the course as the 2016 election cycle heats up.