South Carolina is where national candidates start to compete in America’s elections. The Citadel Poll is the best way to understand growth in the state and how it is changing.

The Citadel Poll will occur twice a year to survey public attitudes in South Carolina about politics and leadership. On occasion, faculty with The Citadel Poll will also conduct national surveys about important policy topics.

The poll is conducted with the highest standards of independence, impartiality, and professionalism, and uses the best in polling practices. The polling data are archives with the Roper Center at Cornell University and research from these studies are presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers.

Polls released by The Citadel represent interviews with more than 1,000 South Carolina registered voters by telephone or online. Respondents are contacted by cell phones as well as landlines to help ensure a representative sample. The poll interviews over seven nights, which improves the ability to reach voters who may not be available on a particular night. The full questionnaire was designed by the poll directors DuBose Kapeluck and Mark Owens. Telephone interviews are conducted by professional interviewers and managed by ProMark Research of Spring, TX and online interviews are conducted by Verasight, both well respected survey research firms that are committed to transparent practices.

The poll has a margin of error which varies according to the number of respondents. For example, a margin of error of 3.1 percent means that 95 percent of the time, a poll of this size will produce results within 3.1 percentage points of what would be found if all registered voters in the state were interviewed. The poll also adjusts the margin of error to indicate if a group of voters participate more often when they are contacted. We call this the margin of sampling error, which is 4.1 percent. There are additional sources of variation in polls which are not reflected in the margin of error, such as the wording and order of questions.

The sample is randomly selected from the voter file of the state of South Carolina, to ensure proportionate representation of all areas of the state. Telephone numbers are dialed using address-based samples from L2, which notes if the numbers is a cell or landlines. Cell respondents are screened to ensure that they are the voter associated with the phone number in that county of residence.

All questions and all results will be posted on this website on the day results are released. The data will include breakdowns of key questions by demographic groups and political identification.

Kapeluck is the Department Head of Political Science. He has been the co-editor of five books on presidential elections in the South and the co-director of The Citadel’s Symposium on Southern Politics for many years. His commentary on southern politics has appeared on Good Morning America, Post and Courier, ABC News, PBS, and other media outlets.

Owens is an assistant professor at The Citadel. With Kapeluck, he co-directs The Citadel’s Symposium on Southern Politics. Previously, he directed the Dallas Morning News/UT Tyler poll. Coverage of that work appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and in the New York Times. He also serves as the Book Reviews Editor for Public Opinion Quarterly.