Quinnipiac’s Polling Institute prepares for Election Day

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This is the new, additional location for the Quinnipiac Polling Institute.

Victoria Simpri

With Election Day coming up on Nov. 8, Quinnipiac’s Polling Institute is buckling down to get the opinions of pollees nationwide before the big day.

The Quinnipiac Polling Institute provides a public service by conducting timely and accurate polls on issues in the news, according to Director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute Douglas Schwartz.

Schwartz has worked for the Polling Institute for 22 years. Since then, the institute has changed many of the ways they undertake their interviewing process, according to Schwartz.

“When I started in 1994, we did polls using paper and pencil,” Schwartz said in an email. “Today we use Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). We started with about a dozen telephones. Today we have 200 interviewer stations.”

Back then, it was difficult to get big samples of voter opinions with so few interviewers, according to Schwartz.

To prepare for this year’s election season, the Polling Institute added 47 interviewer stations to the 153 stations they already had. This allows the institute to conduct four swing state polls simultaneously, according to Schwartz.

“On average, about 153 employees work on a night during election season, but now we are trying to utilize all 200 stations,” Schwartz said.

Sophomore Emilio Zullo initially applied for a job at the Polling Institute to fulfill his work study requirements, but found he also took an interest because of the upcoming presidential election.

“I thought it would be cool to see how each state reacts to each situation in the news,” Zullo said. “I’ve seen a lot of independent voters so far, more than Republican or Democrat.”

Even with the extra staffing, Schwartz stressed the need for employees during this busy season.

“We need as many interviewers as possible because we are so busy. We strongly encourage students to apply, especially during this busy election time,” Schwartz said.

It is necessary for students to vote in this election, especially because it is important to have their voices be heard, according to Zullo.

“I know a lot of people don’t like to vote because they don’t like the candidates this year, but either way, one of them is getting chosen,” Zullo said. “[Students should] put in some type of voice especially if you have an opinion on any issue choose somebody that helps you show your voice in this nation and don’t just let it pass by you.”

For this election season Schwartz hopes the institute will be as accurate as possible in predicting the election outcome.

Professor of Political Science Jennifer Sacco has been a professor at Quinnipiac for 10 years. This election represents a bigger fork in the road than we have witnessed before, according to Sacco.

“This is an incredibly dangerous time for our republic,” Sacco said in an email. “Our very institutions are at stake. Your future and your rights depend on it, and so do mine, and those of our children and parents.”

Sacco encourages her students to hit the polls on Nov. 8, but ultimately it is up to them to decide if they want to vote.

“I hope that everyone will get out there and vote, because I believe this election will depend on turnout, and I hope voters will be guided by their better angels when they cast their ballots,” Sacco said. “I’d hate for people in the U.S. to have the sort of regrets voters in the U.K. had the day after the Brexit vote. Waking up to the importance of the election the day after would be too late.”

This election is important because it will determine our fate as a country, according to Zullo.

“Whether it be someone anti-establishment like Trump or someone who I believe is going to carry on Obama’s administration which is Hillary but we just have to see what happens,” Zullo said. “I just hope our country votes the right way, that’s it. Whoever gets chosen I hope it’s fair and not rigged. I just hope for democracy.”