Winthrop Poll releases new research

Winthrop University has just released their 28th Winthrop Poll finding for the month of February 2014. The poll used calling interview methods to aim at likely GOP primary voters.

According to the Winthrop website, the poll is “the only regular snapshot of public policy attitudes of the residents of the South or the state of South Carolina.”

The poll was designed to help connect residents of the state with public policy makers across the country, and to ensure there is no disconnect in the relationship of the two.

“Winthrop views the Winthrop Poll as a new element in its long-time tradition of service to S.C.,” said former Winthrop President Anthony DiGiorgio.

The Winthrop Poll interviews different areas of the region, sub-region and single-state polling with up to four polls a year conducted by the Winthrop Social and Behavioral Research Lab (SBRL).

SBRL is a full-service survey and data analysis organization paid for by Winthrop with its main function being conducting Winthrop Polls.

Dr. Scott Huffmon, founder and director of SBRL, explained that the poll has grown into something he couldn’t have imagined. “It started as a way to give Winthrop students hands-on research experience but it grew as way to make professional phone calls on a larger scale,” he said.

However, according to the Winthrop website, SBRL also “offers survey consulting, data collection and data analysis” to outside public and private sector organizations located around the country.

Poll topics are not usually related to politics or political elections. “The main goal is a regular gauge of measure that S.C. citizens are concerned about,” Huffmon said.

SBRL’s polling system is seen to be most effective because interviewers use a calling system that does not exclude certain populations. Calls were made during the weekday evenings, all day on Saturdays and on Sunday afternoons and evenings to try to avoid getting feedback from those who are more likely to be home during the day and target a more diverse audience.

Phone numbers used for the poll were also dialed at least five or more times to make sure interviewers could contact a correspondent.

The majority of callers used by SBRL are Winthrop students, who have been screened based on ethics of conducting a poll. “We have to be completely unbiased. Sometimes we might be asking sensitive questions so students have to deal with confidentiality,” Huffmon said.

Julia Longshaw, news and media services manager for SBRL, said the Winthrop Poll is vital to research and surveying in S.C. “Nowhere else in S.C. has a polling system like we do here at Winthrop,” Longshaw said.

Students who are interested in getting involved with SBRL can contact operations manager, Allie Briggs, at briggsa@winthrop.edu.

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