A Gwinnett County resident participates in early voting at the Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registration and Elections Building in Lawrenceville in February. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

About the AJC poll

Why we conducted this poll:

This poll is intended to provide a snapshot of how Georgia voters feel about issues before the 2020 session of the Legislature as well as current political events.

It’s important to note that polling is just a small part of how The Atlanta Journal-Constitution covers state government and elections. Polling is not perfect, but it remains the most effective tool available for measuring public opinion. We know readers have many questions about our polls, so we provide detailed explanations of how they are conducted so you can evaluate them for yourself.

Here are some common questions about our polls and their answers:

Who conducted the poll? The poll was conducted for the AJC by the School of Public and International Affairs Survey Research Center at the University of Georgia. Students made the calls, under the direction of M.V. (Trey) Hood III, the director of the center and a professor of political science. UGA began polling for the AJC in 2018. An archive of our polls can be found at: https://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-polls/

Who selected the questions? The AJC created the survey, which included several questions we have asked in previous polls.

Whom did we talk to? 1,025 registered voters from across the state, from Jan. 6 to 15. The numbers were randomly drawn from a voter registration list obtained through the sampling vendor L2. The company maintains a database constructed from the state’s voter registration lists. Through commercial sources, phone numbers have been added to the individual records (registrants) that make up these lists. 70% of the calls were made to cellphone numbers; 30% to landlines.

What is weighting and how do you do it? Some adjustments are made to the total population of people surveyed to accurately reflect the demographics of the state. This poll was weighted for race, age, sex and education. Adjusting for the education level of respondents is a change made with this poll. The practice is becoming more common and is recommended by the American Association for Polling Opinion and Research (AAPOR).

What is the “margin of error” for the poll, and what exactly does that mean? No matter how carefully a poll is conducted, there will always be some measure of uncertainty when you survey a small portion of a larger population, such as the state of Georgia. The margin of error is the measure of the uncertainty in the sample. The margin of error that we report accounts for these sources of uncertainty. For example, with a margin of error of 4 percentage points, a candidate polling at 50% could have support of anywhere between 46% and 54%, with a 95% level of confidence. That means that if we drew 100 different samples using the same methodology, then no more than 5 times out of 100 should chance variations in the sample cause the results to vary by more than 4 percentage points from the answers that would be obtained if all Georgians were polled.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.