ScottRasmussen.com – Frequently Asked Questions

How do you conduct your surveys?

ScottRasmussen.com surveys are conducted using advanced online survey research techniques based upon samples from comprehensive, diverse panels of respondents. The research is conducted by HarrisX. a leading research company specializing in online survey (see Methodology).

How can I take part in your surveys?

A critical component of reliable survey research is the random selection of participants conducted in a manner to ensure a representative sample. As a result, it is not possible to simply sign up and take part in a survey conducted by ScottRasmussen.com. 

How do you decide what questions to ask?

The mission of ScottRasmussen.com is to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion. We focus our research on underlying public attitudes rather than the partisan political obsessions of official Washington. Specific questions to further that mission are decided upon at a daily news meeting (see About Us).

ScottRasmussen.com has an experienced team of research professionals  who suggest topics, draft questionnaires, and guide all aspects of the survey process. We are constantly and consciously seeking to supplement rather than simply repeat data collected by other public polling firms. We believe that intentionally exploring contrarian themes enhances the public debate by highlighting other perspectives and providing a richer understanding of the topics at hand.

As publisher, Scott Rasmussen is ultimately responsible for the topics covered and the questions asked.

Why should we believe that your survey respondents are representative of the country at large?

While no survey is perfect, we take great care to ensure that our results are based upon a reliable and representative sample.

Respondents to our surveys are screened to determine voter registration status and achieve a mix of political party affiliation, geographically represented, and relevant demographics. The results are weighted by age, gender, region, race, ethnicity, income, education, and political party affiliation to ensure they are representative of the overall and current snapshot of US voters.

Because the representativeness of a sample is critical to understanding the results, we fully disclose the demographic composition for all of our survey research.

Why don’t you do phone polls?

Our founder, Scott Rasmussen, conducted his first poll more than 30 years ago using traditional, operator-assisted phone polling. From 1994 to 2013, he was a pioneer in the field of automated phone polling.

However, fewer than half the households in the nation have a landline telephone today. Additionally, not many people answer their cell phones unless they know the caller. This reality has spurred an industry-wide debate as to whether phone polling is dying or already dead.

Scott believes it is still possible, though difficult, to conduct a quality phone poll. However, that will not be true much longer. When it came time to launch the ScottRasmussen.com tracking poll, Scott chose to use the technology of the future.

What is the relationship between this site and Ballotpedia?

Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics, and ScottRasmussen.com are separate and independent organizations. Scott Rasmussen is an Editor-at-Large for Ballotpedia and writes a “Number of the Day” feature for the encyclopedia. ScottRasmussen.com provides frequent links to Ballotpedia’s rich content as a service to its readers.

What is the relationship between this site and RasmussenReports.com?

There is no relationship of any kind with Rasmussen Reports. Scott Rasmussen founded Rasmussen Reports and led the company for many years. However, he and the majority investors had different visions for the company’s future. So, in January 2013, Scott Rasmussen informed the Board that he would not renew his contract. He left Rasmussen Reports in July 2013 and has not had further interaction.

How you do determine your race ratings?

Our race ratings are determined by averaging the ratings of four top analysts—Real Clear Politics, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the Cook Political Report, and Inside Elections.

Why do you show a range of outcomes on your Scoreboards rather than a single projection?

It is impossible to know what the political environment will be like on Election Day. If the environment is more favorable to Democrats, then Democrats can be expected to win most of the toss-up and other close races. The reverse is also true. Our Scoreboards are designed to reflect that uncertainty.