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Americans Prefer to Volunteer with Community Organizations than Political Campaigns

11.21.2012

High Point University PollHIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 21, 2012 – Just after the national election and during the season of giving back, a new HPU National Poll finds that more people would rather volunteer for a community-based, non-partisan organization than a political group or campaign.

Of national registered voters polled, 36 percent said they “would certainly” participate in community service and volunteer activities for generally non-political organizations or programs. Another 37 percent also said they “would certainly” work together with someone or in some group to solve a problem in the community where they live.

In contrast, 40 percent of those polled said that they “would certainly not” work with a political group or a campaign.

“While we spend a lot of time examining politics through our HPU Polls, it is important to remember that most of the community service in which people engage is non-political and non-partisan,” said HPU Poll director Martin Kifer. “This data shows a solid proportion of our country intends to continue participating in activities that will affect life in their communities.”

Social and political action – all adults

Now I am going to read a list of things that some people do to express their views or take social or political action. On a scale of one to six where one equals “will certainly not do this” and six equals “will certainly do this,” how would you rate the likelihood you will take the following actions?

Participate in community service or volunteer activities for generally non-political organizations or programs 

1 – Will certainly NOT do this – 9 percent

2 – 6 percent

3 – 13 percent

4 – 18 percent

5 – 17 percent

6 – Will CERTAINLY do this – 36 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 1 percent

Work together with someone or some group to solve a problem in the community where you live

1 – Will certainly NOT do this – 8 percent

2 – 5 percent

3 –15 percent

4 – 14 percent

5 – 20 percent

6 – Will CERTAINLY do this – 37 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 1 percent

Work with a political group or for a campaign

1 – Will certainly NOT do this – 40 percent

2 – 14 percent

3 – 13 percent

4 – 11 percent

5 – 6 percent

6 – Will CERTAINLY do this – 15 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 1 percent

Vote in every national election

1 – Will certainly NOT do this – 6 percent

2 – 3 percent

3 – 3 percent

4 – 3 percent

5 – 6 percent

6 – Will CERTAINLY do this – 78 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 1 percent

Not buy something or boycott it because of conditions under which the product is made, or because you dislike the conduct of the company that produces it

1 – Will certainly NOT do this – 13 percent

2 – 8 percent

3 – 13 percent

4 – 14 percent

5 – 13 percent

6 – Will CERTAINLY do this – 36 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 2 percent

Buy a certain product or service because you like the social or political values of the company that produces or provides it

1 – Will certainly NOT do this – 19 percent

2 – 11 percent

3 – 17 percent

4 – 14 percent

5 – 13 percent

6 – Will CERTAINLY do this – 23 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 3 percent

The most recent survey was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Nov. 8 and Nov.10–15,2012. The responses for this national sample of all 50 states came from 677 adults with landline or cellular telephones. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire these samples. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 3.8 percentage points. The data are weighted when appropriate toward population estimates for cellular and landline telephone use, region of the country, age, gender and race. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://src.highpoint.edu/

Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Dr. Sadie Leder, assistant professor of psychology, serves as the associate director of the HPU Poll.

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