Data for Rasmussen Reports survey research is collected using an automated polling methodology.
Generally speaking, the automated survey process is identical to that of traditional, operator-assisted research firms such as Gallup, Harris, and Roper. However, automated polling systems use a single, digitally-recorded, voice to conduct the interview while traditional firms rely on phone banks, boiler rooms, and operator-assisted technology.
For tracking surveys such as the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll, the automated technology ensures that every respondent hears exactly the same question, from the exact same voice, asked with the exact same inflection every single time.
All Rasmussen Reports' survey questions are digitally recorded and fed to a calling program that determines question order, branching options, and other factors. Calls are placed to randomly-selected phone numbers through a process that ensures appropriate geographic representation. Typically, calls are placed from 5 pm to 9 pm local time during the week. Saturday calls are made from 11 am to 6 pm local time and Sunday calls from 1 pm to 9 pm local time.
To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel.
After the surveys are completed, the raw data is processed through a weighting program to ensure that the sample reflects the overall population in terms of age, race, gender, political party, and other factors. The processing step is required because different segments of the population answer the phone in different ways. For example, women answer the phone more than men, older people are home more and answer more than younger people, and rural residents typically answer the phone more frequently than urban residents.
For surveys of all adults, the population targets are determined by census bureau data.
For political surveys, census bureau data provides a starting point and a series of screening questions are used to determine likely voters. The questions involve voting history, interest in the current campaign, and likely voting intentions.
Rasmussen Reports determines its partisan weighting targets through a dynamic weighting system that takes into account the state’s voting history, national trends, and recent polling in a particular state or geographic area.
Additional Information on Methodology