Pollsters have been doing this for decades, and they have a pretty good idea of what Americans want, but the latest data from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) show a new crop of pollster companies are getting a lot more political: They’re getting a much bigger share of the airtime they give to the candidates and the parties.
Polls are being run by PRRI’s Center for the Study of Public Opinion (CSOP), which has more than 4,000 registered researchers across 30 offices around the country.
Its goal is to produce reliable polling that is relevant to voters, but it’s not exactly partisan, with the survey firm giving Democrats and Republicans a wide berth when it comes to answering questions about policies and issues.
So why the uptick in political spending?
The PRRI survey, released on Wednesday, surveyed 1,085 registered voters, a little more than a month after Democrats and GOPers were locked in a nasty primary battle over the nomination.
Democrats have had a particularly aggressive fundraising drive in recent months, with nearly half of them raising more money in 2016 than the next two presidential campaigns combined.
Republicans, meanwhile, have focused more on television advertising and mailers.
While they still lead the national race in both of those categories, they’re clearly enjoying their advantage in the online era, where they’ve found more room to advertise their candidates and issues in a way that will appeal to voters.
Polling data is only one part of the picture.
Surveys also provide an insight into how people feel about the candidates themselves.
In a general election year, voters are more likely to say that they are more liberal than conservative when asked if they would support a Democrat, according to PRRI.
But in the 2016 presidential race, when Democrats and Republican candidates were vying for the White House, the gap between those two groups was even wider.
In the final month of the race, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders had a 61% approval rating among Democrats, while Republican nominee Donald Trump had a 56% approval rate among Republicans.
Pollsters generally don’t use that data to make their predictions, but when it’s presented in this way, the results tend to support the candidates’ positions.
And when PRRI surveyed voters about the issues that matter most to them, it found that voters were more likely than their party leaders to say they supported gun control, climate change and environmental regulations, among other things.
But it’s worth noting that this data is coming from a relatively small sample, so it’s unclear if it’s a reliable measure of the general public’s preferences.
For example, it’s possible that people who think that climate change is a threat, or that gun control is a dangerous issue, don’t have a lot of sympathy for Sanders, or perhaps they’re more concerned with Trump’s position on the issue.
There are also plenty of other issues that PRRI has surveyed, but we don’t think they’re necessarily the ones that have the strongest impact on the general election.
Pollster Geoff Garin, who has been polling Americans for years, said in an interview with The Hill that he sees a number of factors that might be behind the rise in political donations.
He said there is the influence of the internet on how people interact with polling questions and questions that are based on specific issues.
“You see this with a lot, if not most, of the pollsters,” Garin said.
“The internet has given the polling industry a lot to work with, and I think it’s going to play a large role in the direction that this country goes in.”
The pollster’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
There’s another part of PRRI that is helping candidates: its online panel.
PRRI uses its online panels to gauge how candidates are viewed by the public.
For every question asked online, PRRI gives each candidate and party the option of either “unranked” or “ranked” responses.
“We have a couple of ways that we’re measuring our views,” Garis said.
The “unrated” answers reflect views that the candidates or their party are viewed as more conservative or moderate than average.
The question about the party leader’s party platform and position on abortion has the “unbalanced” response, while the “balanced” answers are about the views of the candidates.
“What we want to see is people answer these questions honestly, and then we’ll see what our findings are,” Garins said.
But he said that when it came to political contributions, the more money the candidates were getting, the less likely they were to say those things.
Garin also said that there are a lot less “balanced answers” than when he polled voters about their views of other candidates.
Poll results are generally fairly consistent, and the fact that there’s less “unrounded” answers than “balanced,” he said, makes the data less useful for the purposes of analyzing the general