A Montana Field Guide to 2020 Election Polls

July 15th, 2020

Webinar Thursday, July 9, 2020

Our recent webinar: "A Montana Field Guide to 2020 Election Polls"

Speaker info:

Ms. Nicole McCleskey, a partner with Public Opinion Strategies, set the discussion stage by highlighting national trends in polling – and initial key questions about them. In the 2018 election cycle, Ms. McCleskey polled in five gubernatorial races, helping to win four. Since 2004, Public Opinion Strategies has been a partner on the bipartisan polling team conducting the NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll, one of the most respected surveys of public opinion on political, cultural, and economic issues. It has been described as the “gold standard” of public polling.

Dr. Eric Raile discussed election and political polling conducted by the HELPS Lab at MSU-Bozeman, as well as survey modes and margins of error. Dr. Raile is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Montana State University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Michigan State University in 2008. The MSU Human Ecology Learning and Problem Solving (HELPS) Lab that Dr. Raile directs conducts polling in Montana and our region. The HELPS Lab recently published the Western States Coronavirus Survey which contained polling on Montana’s upcoming political races.

Mr. John Baldridge of the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) discussed recent and upcoming Montana-based policy opinion polling. Mr. Baldridge is Director of Survey Research at BBER. With a Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago, Mr. Baldridge has conducted survey research for 30 years, including initially at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. He had recently completed the third in a series of polls that examined Montanans’ top public policy issues of interest, preferred Montana news sources about those issues, and perceptions of news source credibility.

Dr. Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, presented overall poll quality takeaways. On the American Association for Public Opinion Research Task Force for Evaluation of 2020 Election Polls, Dr. Smith has more than 30 years’ experience in academic survey research. He is Professor of Practice in Political Science in the UNH Department of Political Science where he focuses on survey methodology, elections, and public policy. A leader in professional public opinion research professional organizations, Dr. Smith’s methodological research has included work on question wording effects, the issue of non-attitudes in surveys, and methods of improving the accuracy of pre-election surveys. He is a widely sought-after commentator on election polling, with special focus on New Hampshire and other regional elections.

Dr. Bill Whitsitt, GMF Chairman Emeritus and BBER Executive-in-Residence, was the webinar moderator. Dr. Whitsitt has managed highly-successful public opinion and communication research projects at national, regional and state levels.

Education Grants

The Greater Montana Foundation is now offering new education assistance grants to individual Montana news media professionals and journalism students to strengthen their ability to report more effectively on issues of jobs and the economy. The $500 per person grants are for any course related to these issues, whether on-line or in-person, at any of the state’s post-secondary institutions.

General Grants

General grants are available for nonprofits and others: for film, TV programs, documentaries, videos, webinars, etc. with applications due annually on April 1 and awards made in June.

Commercial Grants

A major goal for GMF’s founder, Ed Craney was to improve commercial broadcasting in the state. There is no deadline for grant applications from commercial stations if you can demonstrate that this is an urgent and critical issue & production is time-limited