We (David Rothschild, Sharad Goel, and Tobi Konitzer) are collaborating with Pollfish on an exciting new data source. Once per week we poll 1,000 Americans on 12 public opinion questions. All answers are reported as percent with strong/very strong Democratic response and percent with strong/very strong Republican. We are excited to see how these move as events unfold.

Quick Jumps: Blog Posts / Questions / Presidential Horse Race / Distributions of Positions / Distributions of Positions by Demographic / Technical Details. Current update on September 24 2016, which represents the result of 33 waves of about 1,000 responses.


Blog Posts on Findings:
Trump and the GOP Have Massively Unpopular Tax Policies. Slate November 30, 2016
New poll: 30% of Trump supporters say they’ll protest the election if he loses. Washington Post November 8, 2016
‘It Really Does Get Into Your Head.’ The Election Through the Eyes of Teenage Girls. New York Times November 4, 2016
Preparing for Future: Smartphone Only Polling. Huffington Post October 30, 2016
Poll: 60% of Republicans believe illegal immigrants vote; 43% believe people vote using dead people’s names. Washington Post October 24, 2016
Will Republican voters flee Trump, post-video? Here’s what we found.. Washington Post October 14, 2016
Tax Increases for High Income Really Popular PredictWise September 29, 2016
Many Voters Want to Decrease Flow of Immigrants PredictWise September 29, 2016
Strong Support for Raising Taxes on Income Over 250k PredictWise September 5, 2016
Guns, Massacres, and Ephemeral Shifts in Public Policy Positions. PredictWise August 22, 2016
Quick Take: solid convention bounce for Clinton. Huffington Post July 30, 2016
Who cares about free trade? Not many Americans, it turns out.. Washington Post July 29, 2016
Guns And Immigration: Critical Wedge Issues Of 2016. Huffington Post July 9, 2016
There is no “Trump Bump” in the polls — just a growing lead for the Democrats. Washington Post, June 7, 2016
New polls show that more Americans prefer Democrats’ policies. Washington Post, May 27, 2016
Will it be Clinton or Trump in November? Here’s what’s wrong with most predictions. Washington Post, May 3, 2016
Trump is closer to what most Republicans believe than the ‘establishment’ candidates are. Washington Post, March 6, 2016


Questions:
There are 12 issues covered in this survey: abortion, anti-discrimination laws for sexual orientation, government efforts to reduce inequality, gun control, immigration, Iran, maternity leave, Medicare spending, government regulation, taxes for incomes over $250,000, free trade, and global warming.
Click for detailed wording »

1) Abortions: How do you feel about abortions being legal in cases of rape, incest, or the health of the woman? (Our, UN-NOTED interpretation is: Democrats favor => Republicans oppose.)
2) Discrimination (Sexual Orientation): How do you feel about laws to protect individuals against discrimination based on sexual orientation? (Democrats favor => Republicans oppose.)
3) Equality (Income): How do you feel about government measures to reduce differences in income levels? (Democrats favor => Republicans oppose.)
4) Guns: How do you feel about federal laws to make it more difficult for people to buy a gun? (Democrats favor => Republicans oppose.)
5) Immigrants: The number of immigrants from foreign countries should be… (Democrats increase => Republicans decrease.)
6) Iran: How do you feel about a military solution to try to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons? (Republicans favor => Democrats oppose.)
7) Maternity Leave: How do you feel about government regulation mandating maternity leave? (Democrats favor => Republicans oppose.)
8) Medicare: How do you feel about reducing federal spending by replacing Medicare with a voucher program? (Republicans favor => Democrats oppose.)
9) Regulations: Government regulations for businesses should be… (Democrats increase => Republicans decrease.)
10) Taxes (Income): How do you feel about increasing income taxes for people making over $250,000 per year? (Democrats favor => Republicans oppose.)
11) Warming (Global): Do you agree that human behavior is substantially responsible for Global Warming? (Democrats favor => Republicans oppose.)
12) Trade: How do you feel about rolling back free trade agreements? (Democrats oppose => Republicans favor?)


Presidential Horse Race:

This chart is the two-party vote share for the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton v. the Republican candidate Donald Trump. We used the generic terms, Democratic nominee and Republican nominee until the July 22 survey.


Distributions of Positions:

This chart shows all of the questions, showcasing the unique distribution of positions. You can see that some question peak near the center, but many questions peak on the partisan extremes. I have flipped: Medicare, Iran, and Free Trade so that chart lines up from Democratic positions on the left to Republican positions on the right:


Distributions of Positions by Demographic:

On this table we highlight the general population, gender, and age. We are showing, based on the polling data, the projected percent of voters in the target population who have a strong/very strong Democratic (DEM) position and strong/very strong Republican (GOP) position. All other voters are weak DEM, indifferent or weak GOP.


Technical Details:

Pollfish runs in-application polling on third party mobile applications. We are reporting the modeled and post-stratified results. First, we run hierarchical logit regressions of the answers 1-7 on age, gender, geography, education, race, and party identification. This is run in Stan on R. Second, we estimate the population of likely voters using TargetSmart‘s voter file. We determine the percentage of the voters that are in any demographic cell (i.e., combination of demographics). Third, we post-stratify the results of the model onto the target populations of likely voters in the 2016 presidential election. This is experimental work, but we want to highlight three things:

    1. Cheap: the retail cost of running this survey is just $1,000 per week. A similar survey with random digit live dialing (RDD) would probably cost between $10,000 and $20,000 per week.
    2. Fast: while we are trying to be consistent with the questions, we can add questions and have results in 1 or 2 hours. Further, the lower cost allows us to have high time granularty, which is prohibitively expensive with RDD data collection.
    3. Accurate: our research shows that this method is accurate. But, we are also going to emphasize shifts in sentiment as much as levels of sentiment, where shifts in sentiment reflect the within survey design changes. As long we are surveying from a similar sample frame each week, the shifts are real within that sample frame, regardless of any concerns over the exact level of the sentiment.

There are two really topical papers to reference for this work. First, David and Sharad (along with Adam Obeng) have a paper called Non-Representative Surveys: Fast, Cheap, and Mostly Accurate which talks about the spectrum of data collection. Second, David and Sharad (along with Wei Wang and Andrew Gelman) have a paper called Forecasting elections with non-representative polls which talks about the analytics of modelling and post-stratifying in more depth.