UT Tyler professors explain ‘science’ behind statewide political poll

Professors say it’s not as simple as just asking who someone is voting for

U-T Tyler professors explain ‘science’ behind state wide political poll

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -A group of East Texas college students are taking a hands-on approach to learning more about the current state of the Texas electorate.

Students of all ages and majors are participating in the first statewide political poll to be conducted at The University of Texas at Tyler.

“The questions that we are asking are sampled from different scientific studies,” said Mark Owens, an associate political science professor at UT Tyler. “So some may know these as the American National Election Survey or from the Pew Charitable Trust Surveys that they do.”

For the newly certified pollsters it’s not as easy as just asking who someone is voting for.

Students conduct a state-wide political poll.
Students conduct a state-wide political poll. (KLTV News Staff)

“We value the scientific process,” said Kenneth Bryant Jr., an associate political science professor. “We do not do loaded questions, we want to make sure that the terms used are not loaded terms, terms that do not bias the respondent.”

Professors said this aids in the credibility of their results which will be complied from calls made for two straight weeks.

“We are actually going to be polling in that first week of early voting,” Owens said. “This is the moment when voters are really starting to hone in on their choice of candidate.”

Students are already noticing trends from those who pick up.

“I think that generally across the board they’re in a consensus that this is a really important election,” said Katie Hicken, a student and pollster.

Students said being involved in the polling process is giving them an opportunity to grow outside of the classroom, but they need your help.

“If you get a call from us,” Bryant said. “Answer the question.”

Political Science professors say once polling has completed they will be able to tell how Texas voters views on candidates and policies change across the state.

For the second phase of the hands-on project, some of the students will actually be working at polling locations across Smith County on election day.

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