It has become increasingly difficult to contact potential respondents and to persuade them to participate. The percentage of households in a sample that are successfully interviewed – the response rate – has fallen dramatically. At Pew Research, the response rate of a typical telephone survey was 36% in 1997 and is just 9% today.
The general decline in response rates is evident across nearly all types of surveys, in the United States and abroad. At the same time, greater effort and expense are required to achieve even the diminished response rates of today. These challenges have led many to question whether surveys are still providing accurate and unbiased information.
I know, in the last couple months, I have answered just one automated telephone poll, and hung up on several other automated and live-caller polls.
PJM’s Tatler breaks it down even more: “We are the 91%”
You read that correctly: In any attempted poll or survey, only 9% of attempted contacts come back with an actual response.
That means 91% of sampled households are NOT having their opinions recorded by pollsters.
Breaking down the numbers a bit, we can see that this is due to two reasons: 38% of the households contacted were unreachable in the first place, leaving only a 62% “contact rate.” But among that 62%, only 14% “cooperated” with the pollsters; the remaining 86% of contactees presumably slammed down the phone or simply refused to answer. Since 86% of 62% of the population are non-cooperators, that leaves us with the astonishing conclusion that…
53% of Americans actively refuse to answer poll questions.
The real breakdown chart should look like this:
38% could not be reached
53% were contacted but actively refused to answer
9% cooperated and answered the polling questions
Or, put another way:
Out of every 7 people contacted by pollsters, only 1 will answer the polling question, while the remaining 6 refuse to answer.
Six to one, people; six to one. Think about that for a second.
What are those 53% thinking — and why would they purposely refuse to cooperate with pollsters?
But now also consider these newly released stats showing that distrust of the media has hit an all-time high, and most importantly that Republicans and independents are twice as likely to distrust the media as Democrats […]