The power of older women? Extinct Republican moderates? It’s mailbag time. | ET REALITY


National surveys also have advantages. There are more historical questions to compare. It’s much less expensive than battleground polls: It might take six state polls to get a decent picture. And there are many cases – for example, a Republican presidential primary or a battle for control of the House – in which the national picture is much more relevant than the main battlegrounds.

I was wondering about the inclusion of the demographic charts. I noticed that the gender category was very binary, and someone could only select male or female. Were non-binary people interviewed in this survey, or did someone have to select male or female? As a non-binary person, I would love to advocate for queer people to be able to fully participate in these surveys. Thank you so much. -Melissa Dailey

It’s worth adding some historical context. First, most pollsters typically asked if someone was male or female, that is, their “sex,” not his gender. That’s what the Census Bureau also does, and pollsters generally find it advantageous to have their questions aligned with the census for comparisons or even statistical adjustments. And as someone who loves historical data, I’m always reluctant to lose a consistent measurement of something over time.

Second, you may be surprised to learn that many telephone surveyors have not actually asked about the sex or gender of respondents. Instead, many have relied on the interviewer to record the sex or gender of the respondent based on voice. It may seem strange, but many respondents find it strange or even offensive to be asked if they are a man or a woman.

However, this is an area where survey research is evolving. In the last decade, many pollsters have begun to ask about gender. A smaller number of pollsters have offered respondents options beyond “man” or “woman” or “man” or “woman,” although this is complicated in itself. Respondents could identify in a variety of ways, whether as transgender, non-cisgender, non-binary, genderfluid, queer, or anything else. They may identify as “man” or “woman” to reflect a gender that does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth.

There is another problem with adding small categories: measurement error. If one in 300 respondents is trolling, or if one in 300 interviewers mistakenly clicks on the wrong gender button, this mismeasured 0.3 percent of the sample will have no discernible effect on our results among men and women. . But it could represent a large proportion of the small number of transgender respondents.

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