Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College will renew and expand its polling partnership in 2018-2019 by increasing the number of polls it produces, extending the scope of those polls and incorporating additional student input and alumni outreach.
The partnership began in 2010, and for the past eight years the polls have filled an important news media niche, offering seasoned analysis on Arkansas residents’ views of state and national elections, ballot initiatives and issues, based on raw data from automated and live caller polling.
“Our polling efforts have become a staple of Arkansas politics,” said Talk Business & Politics CEO Roby Brock. “In the eight years we’ve been conducting our surveys, we’ve had a high degree of accuracy in understanding shifting voter attitudes towards candidates and issues. It has helped drive our coverage, and I look forward to our expanded partnership with Hendrix College.”
This school year, the number of polls will increase to at least six each year, up from three or four. The two groups also hope to develop an annual poll in the spring, designed and executed largely by undergraduate students, that focuses on 18- to 29-year-olds’ views on a topic or topics connected to education. Additionally, the two organizations will continue to explore changing polling techniques and incorporate contributor input to insure balance across the political spectrum.
The project will also offer a unique, hands-on learning opportunity for Hendrix students interested in politics. Hendrix students will follow the process from design of the surveys to analysis and distribution of the results.
“Surveys are at the center of social science research,” said Dr. Jay Barth, the M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Distinguished Professor of Politics at Hendrix College. “It’s incredibly helpful for students to see a survey from start to finish to aid them in becoming more responsible users of data from such surveys, and it also prepares them for their own research projects down the line.
“With this newly expanded relationship, in addition to continuing polling work in classes as in the past, I will develop a team of students who will shadow our work on the polls during the campaign season. Then, in the spring semester, they will take the reins for the design, analysis and presentation of a survey deeply relevant to their generation,” Barth said.
Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a private liberal arts college in Conway. Talk Business & Politics is a 19-year-old statewide news media outlet focused exclusively on Arkansas business, politics and public affairs.