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KADAC Partners with WFMZ-TV on Election Polling

by Janelle Hill Oct 15, 2018
DeSales WFMZ Polling

The Kamran Afshar Data Analytics Center at DeSales University is teaming up with WFMZ-TV to provide weekly polls ahead of November’s midterm elections. 

Afshar converted the Talen Energy Trading Room in the Gambet Center into a part-time call center. Ten political science students work several hours each day making calls and surveying registered voters. 

“This is an educational institution,” says Afshar, director of KADAC. “How better to learn than from topics that are current, that are today, and students have a hand in it.” 

The surveys range from three to five minutes and deal with political races that impact the 7th Congressional District, which covers parts of Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties.

Dr. Kellen Gracey, assistant professor of political science, has a vital role in the process, overseeing day-to-day operations and training students on how to conduct the surveys. Students ask participants basic questions and stay away from anything that’s politically charged. 

“What we do is totally independent,” Afshar says. “We are totally unbiased. We make sure our students, when they read the questions, don’t give any inflection in their voice.”

Once the students collect the data, Afshar analyzes it and WFMZ will post the results on its website each week until the election. By Election Day, KADAC will have collected up to 1,000 observations. Afshar and the students will then analyze that data for an academic paper. They’ll also compare their data with the results of the election and present their results to the University and local community.