The findings in “Strengthening Democracy: What Do Americans Think?” are based on a nationally representative survey of 1,000 American adults 18 and older. All interviews were conducted from September 14 through October 15, 2018. All 1,000 interviews were included in the analysis. Data were collected via telephone interviews, including cell phone interviews, and online. A total of 750 interviews were conducted by phone and 250 were completed online. Respondents completed the surveys in English.
The phone survey response rate was 3.3 percent overall, using the American Association for Public Opinion Research Response Rate 4 formula. The response rate was 3.6 percent for the combined landline samples and 3.2 percent for the combined cell samples.
Once the phone survey phase was completed, invitations to complete the web survey were sent directly to potential respondents by Research Now/SSI. Of the 10,000 people on the panel who were invited to participate in the survey, 389 completes were attained along with 58 terminates, which meant 3.8 percent of people who were invited actually responded. However, only 250 of those completes were obtained before the cutoff date and were in states, age/gender categories and race/ethnicity groups still needed to meet targeted quotas for the study when combined with the 750 phone interviews.
The final data were weighted to balance the sample to known national population parameters based on U.S. Census Bureau data for each of the four census regions and to correct for systematic under- or overrepresentation of key demographics. Quotas were met for each region and state, and therefore no additional weighting by geography was required to achieve a nationally representative sample of the United States.
The maximum standard error range (margin of error) for the total weighted sample is +/-3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. It is higher, however, for questions that were not asked of all respondents and for subgroup results.
The Kettering Foundation served as a collaborator in this research. The survey was fielded by Wiese Research Associates, Inc. WRA was responsible for data collection only. Public Agenda designed the survey instrument and analyzed the data.
Before developing the survey instrument, Public Agenda conducted three demographically diverse focus groups with adults in July 2018 in Hicksville, New York; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Earth City, Missouri. In total, 31 adults participated in these focus groups.
For a complete methodology providing more detail, including sample characteristics and the survey’s topline with full question wording, please go to www.publicagenda.org/pages/strengthening-democracy-what-doamericans-think or email firstname.lastname@example.org.