The Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post Survey on Political Rallygoing and Activism

The Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation Survey Project is a partnership combining survey research and reporting to better inform the public. The Post-Kaiser Survey on Political Rallygoing and Activism, the 32nd in this series, was conducted by telephone Jan. 24 – Feb. 22, 2018, among a random representative sample of 1,850 adults age 18 and older living in the United States. The survey includes an oversample of those who report that in the past two years they attended 1) a political rally, speech, or campaign event, or 2) an organized protest, march, or demonstration of any kind. This group is referred to here as “rallygoers.” Interviews were administered in English and Spanish, combining random samples of both landline (n=713) and cellular telephones (n=1,137).

Sampling, data collection, weighting and tabulation were managed by SSRS in close collaboration with The Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation researchers.

The sample plan consisted of two main elements:

  1. Cell and Landline Phone Random Digit Dialing (RDD) (n=1,347). The dual frame landline and cellular phone sample was generated by Marketing Systems Group (MSG) and Survey Sampling International (SSI) using RDD procedures. To randomly select a household member for the landline samples, respondents were selected by asking for the youngest or oldest adult male or female currently at home based on a random rotation. If no one of that gender was available, interviewers asked to speak with the youngest or oldest adult of the opposite gender. For the cell phone sample, interviews were conducted with the adult who answered the phone. For the oversample, some respondents contacted through RDD landline and cellular sampling were only interviewed if they qualified as a rallygoer.
  2. Pre-screened Respondents Previously Completing Interviews on the SSRS Omnibus Survey (n=503). Weekly, RDD landline and cellular phone surveys of the general public were used to identify respondents who qualified as rallygoers. Individuals who had previously indicated on the SSRS omnibus survey that they fit the eligibility criteria for this group were re-contacted and re-screened for this survey.

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 accounting for non-response for the re-contact sample. The second weighting stage was conducted separately for those who qualified as rallygoers and all other adults. There are no known administrative data available for creating demographic weighting parameters for rallygoers as defined by this survey. Therefore, demographic benchmarks were derived by compiling a sample of all respondents interviewed on the SSRS Omnibus survey between Nov. 21, 2017 and Feb. 2, 2018 (N=10,350). This sample was weighted to match the national adult population based on the 2017 U.S. Census Current Population Survey March Supplement and the early 2017 National Health Interview Survey parameters for age, gender, education, race/ethnicity, region, marital status, phone status, and population density. Then, this sample was filtered for respondents who qualify as rallygoers (N=2,152) and those who do not (8,198) and the weighted demographics of these groups were used as post-stratification weighting parameters for each group in the total sample (including age by gender, education, race/ethnicity, region, population density, marital status, phone status, rallygoer status. In the final weighting stage, each group (rallygoers and all others) was weighted to reflect its actual share in the U.S. adult population.

All sampling error margins and tests of statistical significance have been adjusted to account for the survey’s design effect, which is 1.8 for results based on the full sample. The design effect is a factor representing the survey’s deviation from a simple random sample, and takes into account decreases in precision due to sample design and weighting procedures. Sample sizes and margin of sampling errors for key groups are shown below; 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. All statistical tests of significance account for the effect of weighting.

Group (unweighted) Margin of sampling error (percentage points)
Total 1,850 ±3
Rallygoers 832 ±4
Non-rallygoers (NET) 1,018 ±3.5
Nuts and Bolts activists 377 ±6
Pinch Hitters 334 ±6.5
Not engaged 307 ±6.5

This questionnaire was administered with the exact questions in the exact order as appears in this document. If a question was asked of a reduced base of the sample, a parenthetical preceding the question identifies the group asked.

The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation each contributed financing for the survey, and representatives of each organization worked together to develop the survey questionnaire and analyze the results. Each organization bears the sole responsibility for the work that appears under its name. The project team from the Kaiser Family Foundation included: Mollyann Brodie, Ph.D., Bianca DiJulio, and Cailey Muñana. The project team from The Washington Post included: Scott Clement and Emily Guskin. Both The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation public opinion and survey research are charter members of the Transparency Initiative of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.


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