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Kaiser Family Foundation/CNN Working-Class Whites Poll

The Kaiser Family Foundation/CNN Working-Class Whites Poll was conducted August 9-September 5, 2016, among a nationally representative random digit dial (RDD) telephone sample of 1,614 adults ages 18 and older, living in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii (Note: persons without a telephone could not be included in the random selection process). Computer-assisted telephone interviews conducted by landline (471) and cell phone (1,143, including 716 who had no landline telephone) were carried out in English and Spanish by SSRS. CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation both contributed financing for the survey, and teams from both organizations worked together to develop the survey questionnaire and analyze the data. Each organization is responsible for its content.

For the purposes of this poll, “working-class” is defined as those who have attained less than a four-year college degree, excluding those between the ages of 18-24 who are currently enrolled in school. “College graduates” includes those who have attained at least a four-year degree. To ensure there were enough respondents to capture the views and experiences of working-class whites, blacks, and Hispanics, the full sample includes additional interviews with randomly selected respondents from these groups (commonly referred to as an “oversample”), for a total of 701 working-class whites, 129 working-class blacks, and 136 working-class Hispanics. Results for all groups have been adjusted to reflect their actual national distribution (See weighting description below). The sample plan consisted of three elements: 1) respondents reached by RDD to landline telephones or cell phones (1098 total, including 385 working-class whites, 70 working-class blacks, 99 working-class Hispanics, and 329 whites with four-year college degrees); 2) respondents reached by RDD to landlines or cell phones within Census blocks with an estimated large share of white individuals with less than a college degree (294 total, including 181 working-class whites, 7 working-class blacks, 2 working-class Hispanics, and 77 whites with four-year college degrees), and 3) prescreened respondents reached by calling back phone numbers where respondents previously interviewed for other RDD surveys indicated that they had no college degree and were white (135), black (52), or Hispanic (35). Both the RDD landline and cell phone samples were provided by Marketing Systems Group (MSG).

To randomly select a household member for the landline samples, respondents were selected by asking for the adult male or female currently at home who had the most recent birthday based on a random rotation. If no one of that gender was available, interviewers asked to speak with the adult of the opposite gender who had the most recent birthday. For the cell phone samples, interviews were conducted with the adult who answered the phone.

A multi-stage weighting process was applied to ensure an accurate representation of the national adult population. The first stage of weighting involved corrections for sample design, including a correction for oversampling, the likelihood of non-response for the prescreened sample, and an adjustment to account for the fact that respondents with both a landline and cell phone have a higher probability of selection. The second weighting stage was conducted for working-class whites and for all other respondents separately, weighting to match estimates for the national population using data from the Census Bureau’s 2015 March supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS). In addition, the distribution of phone use was estimated based on each group’s weighted phone use distribution as captured in the past year on the SSRS Omnibus poll, a weekly, nationally representative RDD landline and cell phone survey. The weighting parameters used were age, gender, race/ethnicity (for the non-working-class white sample), nativity (for Hispanic respondents only), education, marital status, census region, population density of the respondents’ county, and telephone use. In the final weighting stage, each group (working-class whites, all others) was weighted to reflect its actual share in the U.S. adult population. All statistical tests of significance account for the effect of weighting.

The margin of sampling error including the design effect for the full sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Numbers of respondents and margins of sampling error for key subgroups are shown in the table below. For results based on other subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher. Sample sizes and margins of sampling error for other subgroups are available by request. Note that sampling error is only one of many potential sources of error in this or any other public opinion poll. Kaiser Family Foundation public opinion and survey research is a charter member of the Transparency Initiative of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

Group N (unweighted) MOSE
Total 1614 +/-3 percentage points
     White Working Class 701 +/-5 percentage points
     White College Graduates 406 +/-6 percentage points
     Black Working Class 129 +/-10 percentage points
     Hispanic Working Class 136 +/-9 percentage points
Total Registered Voters (RV) 1364 +/-3 percentage points
     White Working Class RV 602 +/-5 percentage points
     White College Graduate RV 377 +/-6 percentage points
     Black Working Class RV 105 +/-11 percentage points
     Hispanic Working Class RV 96 +/-11 percentage points

The full KFF/CNN poll results are representative of the U.S. adult population, including people of all races. The reported results focus on the total sample, reflective of all adult people in the U.S., as well as whites without college degrees, blacks without college degrees, Hispanics without college degrees, and whites who have graduated from college. While the responses for some smaller groups of the US population, for example, Asian-Americans and people of mixed race, are counted in the “total” poll responses, the number of respondents who identify as Asian or as mixed race was too small to report separately, since the margin of sampling error around any poll result from these subgroups would be so large that the result would be unreliable and potentially misleading.

Section 4: Politics and Partisanship

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.