In the wake of the closure Field Poll, Mark DiCamillo, its former director and one of California’s most reliable pollsters, has signed on at the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies to expand its public opinion operation.
This is good news for polling in California, adding the Berkeley IGS Poll to the non-partisan public surveys being conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California and the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll.
According to DiCamillo, the Berkeley IGS Poll will involve a mix of live telephone and internet surveys, fielded by YouGov, a market research and opinion survey firm based in Redwood City that specializes in online polling – a less expensive methodology than traditional phone surveys.
The use of internet polling is a leap from the surveys conducted by DiCamillo and the Field Poll, which, until last year, relied exclusively on live interviews with respondents over the phone. The online methodology carries risks, relying on an internet panel which may or may not include some of the hardest-to-reach respondents like young minority males, for example.
But with response rates to live telephone interviewing declining, researchers have sought new methods of sounding public opinion and YouGov’s online methodology is widely regarded as one of the more scientifically rigorous attempts to replicate general populations.
“The IGS Poll is a significant research tool for examining and studying California public opinion,” said Jack Citrin, institute director and UC Berkeley’s Heller Professor of Political Science. “Mark has long been recognized as one of the state’s leading pollsters, and bringing him to the institute will enable our polling program to continue to grow, advancing our mission for both cutting-edge research and public education.”
According to a release from IGS, “DiCamillo will oversee all aspects of the IGS polling program, including the design, execution and marketing of its polls, as well as the public release of survey findings to the news media. In this capacity, he will work with Citrin and other faculty members and graduate students affiliated with the institute.”