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The CBS/NYT Interviewers

Topics: Measurement , Pollsters

Kathy Frankovic, the polling director at CBS News, pays tribute to survey interviewers in her weekly column, which includes a rare public** description of the interviewing process behind the CBS News/New York Times poll:

Interviewers for the CBS News/New York Times Poll work at our own interviewing facility in New York. They make their calls from a room in the CBS News Broadcast Center that has been equipped with more than 50 phone lines and computers, just a few floors away from the poll's offices. This ensures frequent communication and feedback between interviewers and analysts; it also provides the flexibility to react quickly to news events.

Our interviewers are among the most experienced in the business. They reflect the racial and ethnic composition of the New York area. Some are retired from other jobs, some work as interviewers full-time, both for us and for other interviewing facilities, and some are actors who use interviewing as a way of financing the down times in their careers. Nearly half of our current active interviewers have worked for CBS News and the Times for more than eight years. Our interviewers are a dedicated and talented group.

With the apparent imminent demise of the in-house interviewing capability of the Los Angeles Times poll, CBS now stands alone (to the best of my knowledge) as the only media poll sponsor that does its own telephone interviewing. The others use outside research firms or call centers to conduct their surveys.

**Although I had not seen the CBS interviewing procedures described before, Kathy Frankovic points out via email that they had "never been a secret" and that she has often discussed them publicly.

 

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