There's a 40-person call center at Elon University where the majority of their past polls have been conducted by telephone. But like so many other things it shut down when the COVID-19 closures came.

Jason Husser is director of Elon's poll. He says they shifted to a blended survey that allowed some respondents to take the polls online.

Traditionally, it's easy to reach older voters by phone, but younger voters can be elusive. The blended approach changed that, he says.

“It's actually really easy to get young people on online polls," Husser says. "What's difficult is to reach people over 65 online. Like my grandmother, who had never had the Internet before until a few years ago. So we have difficulty online reaching older voters — telephones, reaching younger voters. That's why I think this sort of blended method is probably the future for 2024."

He says it remains a challenge to reach certain people who simply don't respond to polls, particularly non-college-educated whites. That was a problem in 2016 that they knew they needed to fix this year. 

Husser says they're still looking at the data to see if they were able to correct the problem.

Editor's note: WFDD partnered with Wake Forest University students for our 2020 political coverage. Husser was interviewed by Madison Borsellino.

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