Telephone Polls and PPS Sampling: A Potential Boon to the Polling Industry

Jade McKay Burt, Utah State University


In the wake of the 2016 election, the polling industry has no shortage of critics. While these are difficult times for the industry as a whole, there are exciting innovations happening that will serve to benefit and revitalize the industry for years. One of these exciting innovations is Probability Proportional to Size (PPS) sampling. I will elaborate on what PPS sampling is and provide a mathematical foundation for its use in polling. I also discuss what some of the myriad of issues plaguing the polling industry are and then show how PPS sampling can be used to remedy many of these ills. Finally, I look at a real-world application of PPS sampling. The Mia Love internal polling team, Y2 Analytics, granted me access to their PPS data. I use it to show that we can accurately model the electorate using PPS samples and that polls conducted by this method are at least as accurate as other polls using simple random samples.