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USC Dornsife Press Release

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USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Introduces Experiment in Online Polling

Large experiment in web-based surveying will provide in-depth look at California voter opinion on broad range of public policy and political issues.

Media Contacts:
Suzanne Wu at (213) 740-0252 or
Michelle Salzman at (213) 821-9311 or

LOS ANGELES — April 5, 2012 — Three years after the successful launch of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences has announced that it will introduce, as an experiment, a second public opinion research vehicle.

This experiment will explore the advantages of web-based surveying, including the ability to examine public opinion even more deeply than with a traditional phone survey and to conduct more interviews over a shorter period of time. The online survey will be conducted on behalf of USC Dornsife by M4 Strategies and Tulchin Research, two California public opinion firms specializing in public policy and polling research.

“There’s no question that the future of public opinion research will be conducted over the Internet, and we’re looking forward to learning more about how these technologies can provide an even more in-depth and timely assessment of what Californians think about the issues that matter to them,” said Dan Schnur, director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC and director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll.

“This important experiment in conducting public opinion polling online will help us provide even more information about California voters and the future of the state,” Schnur said. “We are excited to partner on this opportunity to explore how polling can more closely capture voter sentiment, and we fully expect that people will be watching us closely to learn from our experiences.”

The first online survey of California voters was conducted between March 19-21, over which time 1,874 Californians were asked about their thoughts on state and national political issues, as well as a range of questions relating to online privacy, intellectual property and copyright infringement. The results of the online survey will be released this week.

Chris St. Hilaire, CEO and President of M4 Strategies said: "In the same way opinion researchers adapted to the growth of home phone lines 40 years ago, we must now adapt to an increasingly mobile and web-centric population. When asking voters to evaluate complex language and figures, such as those that appear on ballot initiatives, web-based surveys are far more effective in giving voters the tools they need to provide an accurate opinion.”

Ben Tulchin, President and founder of Tulchin Research said: “I'm looking forward to partnering with the University of Southern California and M4 Strategies in this new polling venture. Online polling is the future of public opinion research, and we’re excited to apply this cutting-edge opinion research tool to current California events.”

The online survey will be distinct from the existing USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, conducted on behalf of USC and the Los Angeles Times by leading polling firms Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a Democratic polling firm, and American Viewpoint, a Republican polling firm. With the introduction of the online survey, USC Dornsife will extend the mission of the university to provide independent, accurate public opinion data.

For a methodology statement, click here [PDF] or visit

The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is one of the largest polls in the state, sampling more than 1,500 registered voters on a wide range of political, policy and social issues. The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll also includes a significant oversample of Latino voters, providing an important closer look at one of the fastest growing voter blocks in California.

In 2010, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll first introduced surveying Latino and Asian American voters with fully bilingual interviewers able to switch between languages from the moment of outreach. During that year’s California elections, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll was the most accurate statewide poll for both the governor and U.S. Senate races, earning a reputation for accuracy and forward-thinking.

Results of the online survey experiment will be released this week. For more information about the USC Dornsife online survey or about the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, visit or follow on Twitter @usclatpoll.