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About Us

About Us

Emerson College Polling administers public opinion surveys to better understand the attitudes and beliefs of the public with a transparent and representative approach.

The Polling Center is a non-partisan organization dedicated to accurately reflect populations through public opinion research. Established 25 years ago as a classroom exercise, in 2012 Emerson College Polling was transformed into an innovative, nationally-ranked polling center. In addition, Emerson College Polling conducts and publishes research relating to voting trends, polling methodology, and public policy.

Emerson College Polling is a Charter Member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative. AAPOR is the leading professional organization of public opinion and survey research professionals in the United States, with members from academia, media, government, the nonprofit sector, and private industry.

Emerson College Polling has developed a mixed-mode methodology that continues to develop as the way in which individuals communicate with one another evolves. To create a representative sample, Emerson College Polling uses a combination of:

Methodology

Emerson College Polling has developed a mixed-mode methodology that continues to develop as the way in which individuals communicate with one another evolves. To create a representative sample, Emerson College Polling uses a combination of:

Landline respondents

Landline respondents

Cell phone respondents

Cell phone respondents

Online panels

Online panels

The Polling Center understands the importance of developing its methodology considerate of evolving communication technologies and methods. In 2016, ECP used a landline-only sample design. In 2017, it expanded to a mixed-mode methodology by integrating online panels into its sample. This IVR/Online mode of data collection led to a high rate of predictive and statistical accuracy in the 2018 Midterm Elections. In 2019, Emerson College Polling began to incorporate Text-to-Web data collection into its methodology to achieve the most representative sample possible. As of 2022, ECP’s mixed-mode methodology includes IVR, online panels and text-to-web data collection.

The Emerson Poll methodology pairs an automated system that collects data over landline phones, online panel of participants and a sample of cellphones through text-to-web data collection. The Polling Center utilizes a series of screening questions to identify targeted populations.

The results presented in our reports include univariate and bivariate analysis of the data. Frequency distributions for each item included on the questionnaire are shown in the tables. In all cases, cross-tabulation results are also shown. This type of bivariate analysis examines differences between sub-groups of the overall population.

The modes of data analyses are non-probability and deductive (from “general” to “specific”) in nature, so instead of using classical statistics to quantify the ‘uncertainty’ or range of scores a poll represents, we use Bayesian Statistical methods, that produce the mathematical likelihood of an event of interest, and that are inductive in nature (from “specific” to “general”), for data analyses in best estimate the true population mean proportion. Due to their inductive nature and probability oriented approach, Bayesian methods are often called “Evidence-Based” Statistics (Satake, 2014, 2016, and 2017).

Methodological Research

Staff

Who We Are

Spencer Kimball

Spencer Kimball

Executive Director

Spencer Kimball is the founding Director of the Emerson College Polling Center. Kimball is an established expert in public opinion research. With over 20 years of experience, his innovative methodologies continue to lead the field.

His work is published in mainstream news sources around the globe and top tier journals including Nature Medicine and American Behavioral Scientist. In 2012, he established Emerson College Polling. His approach to data collection uses emerging communication technologies which includes text-to-web, email, online panels and Interactive Voice Response (IVR).

Kimball has been advising the CUNY School of Public Health on Covid-19 related surveys. In addition, he served as an advisor to the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economic 5-year Polling Initiative that studied Hispanic Consumer sentiment from 2014-2018.
Kimball is an Associate Professor at Emerson College, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in Survey Methods and Political Communication.

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Eric Tollar

Eric Tollar

Deputy Director

Eric Tollar now serves as the Deputy Director of Emerson College Polling after more than a decade of experience in the worlds of political research, campaign strategy, and legal advocacy. A seasoned political pollster, Eric has conducted both quantitative and qualitative research for a wide range of clients, including Presidential, Gubernatorial, Senatorial, Congressional, and Mayoral candidates, advocacy groups, ballot initiatives, and many more.

In addition to his career in public opinion  research, Eric’s work as an attorney focuses on Electoral College reform, ballot restrictions, voting rights, and the application of survey research and statistics to civil rights litigation and jury selection.

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Isabel Holloway

Isabel Holloway

Director of Survey Operations

Isabel Holloway is Director of Survey Operations at Emerson College Polling. She oversees survey development, data collection, and analysis for the Polling Center’s pre-election polls and research projects. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Isabel oversaw data collection in 23 countries in 13 languages to gauge the impact of the pandemic on global populations. Since 2020, Holloway has worked on a methodological study comparing IVR, SMS-to-web, and online modes of pre-election poll data collection. Holloway joined the team full-time in 2019, upon receiving her B.S. from Emerson College in Political Communication where she worked as an Research Assistant at the Polling Center.

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Camille Mumford

Camille Mumford

Communications Director

Camille Mumford serves as the Polling Center’s Communications Director. As a self-identified expert in translating pollster language to public discourse, Camille is responsible for communicating ECP’s data to the public. She encourages you to follow @EmersonPolling. Mumford is an Affiliated Faculty member at Emerson College, where she teaches the undergraduate course: Survey Research Methods. Mumford has a Masters in Strategic Public Relations and degree in Political Communication from Emerson College.

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Dr. Laura Barberena

Dr. Laura Barberena

Director of Hispanic Qualitative Research

Dr. Laura Barberena joined the Polling Center’s team in 2022 to lead the project, Unlocking the Hispanic Vote. Dr. Barberena is a researcher specializing in political communications and civic engagement. Throughout her career, she has focused on Latino engagement in politics. Dr. Barberena moderates and analyzes Hispanic focus groups for the Polling Center. She received her doctorate at the Moody College of Communications at University of Texas at Austin. In November 2017, Dr. Barberena, along with Hon. Delia Garcia, launched The Lista Project, a comprehensive leadership training program focused on Hispanic women living in the United States who are interested in running for elected office.

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