Voters lined up early at Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 to cast their votes in Atlanta's mayoral election. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

FAQ about the AJC’s 2018 Democratic primary poll

Who conducted the poll? The poll was conducted for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News 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.

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

Whom did we talk to? Callers contacted 473 registered voters from across the state. The numbers were randomly drawn from a voter registration list obtained through the sampling vendor Revily. The company maintains a database constructed from the state voter registration lists. Through commercial sources, phone numbers have been appended to the individual records (registrants) that make up these lists. Sixty-five percent of the calls were made to cellphone numbers; 35 percent 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 typical Democratic primary voter.

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 percent could have support of anywhere between 46 percent and 54 percent, with a 95 percent level of confidence. That means that if we drew 100 different samples using the same methodology, then no more than five 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.

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