Polling Institute looks to hire new employees

By on September 18, 2003

Just off campus, adjacent to New Road, there is a nondescript house.

It looks as if a family of four resides there, with quaint windows and a side entrance door. Unbeknownst to the passerby or Quinnipiac student, the building houses rows and rows of cubicles, each one containing a computer and a phone.

There are bulletin boards filled with posters and newspaper clippings praising or negating poll results. There are cartoons depicting Quinnipiac University versus political figures and copies of the Wall Street Journal strewn about.

Beneath the bustling sounds of phones ringing and fingers typing, there is a consistent hum of questions and laughter. This house is the home of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute.

Frequently cited by journalists, public officials and researchers, the independent Quinnipiac University Poll regularly surveys residents in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and now conducts nationwide polling.

According to Thuraiya Hashim, a supervisor at the Polling Institute, the facility is not as recognized by students as it should be because it is located off campus.

However, she has seen a jump in recruitment this semester, with the institute looking to hire up to 130 employees.

Usually, 70% of the hirees at the institute are Quinnipiac students. The other 30% include members from the Hamden or New Haven community and other local colleges and universities.

“It’s a nice environment to work in. It is fairly laid back and not too professionally rigid,” said Hashim.

Known for its precision, the poll was selected to be a winner by The New York Post for the most accurate prediction on the Schumer-D’Amato Senate race in 1998.

Competing poll results of the race were featured regularly in The New York Times, The Washing Post, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and on national network news broadcasts.

Director of the Polling Institute Douglas Schwartz says that the institute started out modestly in 1988.

“We began polling in Connecticut and the polls were received so well that in 1994, they expanded to New York state and the city,” said Schwartz.

In 1996, the members of the institute expanded their survey to include New Jersey, and, in 2001, they began national polling, followed by Pennsylvania polling in 2002.

“The subjects of the polls we administer include political races, state and national elections, and issues of public concern, such as schools, taxes, transportation, municipal services, and the environment,” said Schwartz.

Schwartz expressed that this year in particular is a very exciting time for the polling institute because of the presidential election.

Polling is done by random selection with a program called “random digit dialing.”

All those surveyed are 18 years of age or older.

Hashim began working at the polling institute in June of 2001 at the recommendation of a former Quinnipiac student and polling institute employee.

She encourages many students to consider working at the institute regardless of their major.

“I’m a psychobiology major and these polls don’t really have anything to do with my career, but I think they are useful to me because they force me to stay updated with events in the world and politics,” Hashim continued.

“The polling institute benefits the Quinnipiac community because it educates its members.”

For more information on the Polling Institute contact extension 5201. Emails can be sent to pollinginstitute@quinnipiac.edu.


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