Pollsters prepare for major changes after presidential election misses

Increasingly, pollsters across the field favor combining multiple methods of contact in the same poll, seeking to include the hardest-to-reach Americans.

“The future’s multi-modal,” said Republican pollster David Kanevsky, who attended the conference. “We’re going to reach you any way we can.”

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It’s already happening across the board. After ending their more-than-30-year partnership with NBC News after the 2020 election, the Wall Street Journal’s new poll — a cooperative effort between the pollsters for both Trump and President Joe Biden — reaches a quarter of its respondents via text message. The technique, called “text-to-web,” sends a link to an internet survey, and those interviews are added to others conducted by voice over landlines and cell phones.

Over the past year, CNN’s polling has spanned a wide range of methods. Conducted both over the phone and the internet, some polls are conducted from respondents who have joined a panel maintained by SSRS, the Pennsylvania-based company that conducts polls for CNN and other outlets. But the samples for two other CNN polls — one earlier this year and one in the summer of 2021 — were obtained by mailing solicitations to people at home and asking them to participate, either on the phone or the web.

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