Learn more about how surveys are developed and conducted by exploring the survey methodology topics below, reading reports about methodological issues, and browsing frequently asked questions. Behind every survey, several decisions are made about how to: select people to interview, conduct the survey, and ask the questions. All of these decisions impact the survey results.

About Our Survey Methodology

Most of our national surveys are conducted by randomly dialing landline and cell phone numbers in the continental United States. Here is a detailed overview of the methods we use.


There are many different ways to select respondents to be surveyed. Here is a description of some of the methods we use to draw samples.

Collecting Survey Data

Researchers use a variety of methods to survey respondents. Here is a review of those methods, plus a discussion of declining response rates.

Questionnaire Design

There are various ways to ask questions and arrange them in the survey. Here we discuss some of the pitfalls and best practices.

Election Polling

Pre-election polling allows pollsters to assess the accuracy of their work by comparing how well their polls matched election outcomes. One of the key challenges is identifying likely voters.