TPM Cafe's Pollster Roundtable

10/20/2008 05:53 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Here's a quick heads up that contributor David Moore is leading a special feature this week on TPMCafe that I will be joining, along with some very prominent academic survey researchers: George Bishop, Michael Traugott, Scott Althaus and Nancy Mathiowetz.

David's first post, "A New Version of the Vote Choice Question," argues that the standard vote preference question artificially minimizes the number of "undecided" voters. He proposes a new set of questions that would make it easier for respondents to say they "they haven't made up their mind" or could "change your mind before Election Day."

I just added my two cents. Here's part of it:

I used to be a campaign pollster -- someone hired by Democratic candidates to conduct polls for their campaign. One point I'd to add from that perspective is that virtually all campaign pollsters do something analogous to what David is proposing. They ask the standard vote question that presses respondents hard to make a choice. Then they follow-up with a question asking how certain they are to support that candidate on election day.

Campaign pollsters focus much more on the measure of certainty than on "undecided" in thinking about targeting messages and organization resources, because they have learned though experience that voters with a preference can sometimes change their minds.

I'll post links to subsequent entries in the series right here. It should be interesting, so stay tuned.