By Jodi Guglielmi, A&E Editor
High Point University has been widely recognized for conducting student-run polls over the past three years. Surveying North Carolina residents about a variety of topic such as healthcare, gas prices, the economy, and more, the HPU Poll has uncovered useful information that has benefited both the school and the local community.
The HPU Poll is under the direction of Dr. Martin Kifer, director of the poll and an assistant professor of political science, and Dr. Sadie Leder, associate director of the poll and an assistant professor of psychology. This semester, two national polls will be conducted along with four statewide polls, three of which have already been completed.
“What’s most important to us is that we provide high quality, independent information to people in North Carolina and the United States about public affairs issues,” Kifer says. “We focus on issues people care about and report in an unbiased way the opinions of people across the country.”
As the 2012 election year is underway, the HPU Poll has prepared its first national polls to ask how people feel about the pressing political issues. Using a random-digit dialing method for landlines and cell phones, students will be calling individuals and asking their opinions on the upcoming elections.
The polls are already starting to turn out results. The data has shown that North Carolina is projected to be a rather split state. Before the Republican candidate was announced, a poll conducted in April 2012 showed that voters were slightly favoring the unnamed Republican opponent when only 42 percent said that they would re-elect Barack Obama. That leaves 47 percent to vote Republican and 11 percent that was still undecided.
The same survey found that voters were split on their vote for U.S. Congress with 42 percent declaring they would vote Democratic and 40 percent saying they would favor a Republican candidate.
“All signs point to a very competitive election season in North Carolina,” Kifer adds. “President Obama won this state by the narrowest margin of any state that he won in 2008. The Republican Party has shown a willingness to devote a lot of resources to the campaigns here. And the Democratic Party decided to have their convention in Charlotte, giving a signal that they’re really invested in this state. The polls so far, and the amount of spending we have seen on campaign ads in North Carolina show that the parties are still focused on winning the state this November.”
Conducting six polls during one semester is a new record for the Survey Research Center. Each survey will provide enticing results that the public will be able to view and find useful.
Surveys will show results from polls such as how North Carolina residents vote in comparison to the whole United States. The final survey results are scheduled to be released just before Election Day.
This election year has already proved to be intense, and with the addition of the new national poll, one can expect that the months leading up to Election Day will be filled with excitement.