Methodology: How the survey data was compiled

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This story has been edited to correct the number of participants who participated. It explains the method behind the polling reported in the story "Character, policy among top factors for GOP panel." Click on the "related link" to see that story.

The Southeast Missourian recently conducted an unscientific poll of the members of the 8th District Republican Committee.

The Missourian called each of the 86 members, leaving messages twice if not reached on the first call. Each candidate had three days to respond to the first message, and at least one day to respond to the second.

Of the 86 members, 55 were reached by phone with nine of those declining to participate. Another 22 did not return phone messages. The survey asked the same questions to each of the candidates.

Each committee member named his or her top three candidates; it was assumed that many members would not have yet identified their top pick and they might be unwilling to answer if asked for only one. Committee members were promised their names would not be attached their answers in news coverage.

Twenty-six different people responded to our question on the candidates. Of those, 22 gave three preferred candidates; one gave two; and three gave only one response. Responses were discarded when members insisted on giving more than three responses. Three of those members were double voters, so their answers were counted twice. Each of the double voters gave three preferred candidates.

The Southeast Missourian chose to do an off-the-record poll, because it was assumed that method would elicit the most participation. The purpose of the poll was to gauge who among a lengthy list of candidates was being considered seriously for nomination, along with getting an indication of what qualities the committee members are looking for in their nomination.

A handful of committee members would only share one favorite. In those instances, those names were included in the analysis, but they were counted just once. Other committee members insisted on giving more than three names. Those responses were discarded from this analysis.

The Southeast Missourian asked committee members to rank in importance the factors of character, policy positions, experience and ability to be re-elected.

Another question asked the members about how important the location of the candidates' residency was in their decision-making. Several expressed confusion about the way the question was asked, so that question was discarded for the purposes of our news coverage.

The newspaper polled Republicans because they identified many potential candidates, began forming plans sooner and are the dominant party in the region based on previous 8th District elections.

Republicans made available a list of 8th Committee District members with corresponding addresses and telephone numbers.

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