Saint Anselm College Survey Center Offers Unique Learning Opportunities

October 16, 2018

By Alexis Soucy

Since Saint Anselm College launched its inaugural poll in February 2018, students of all majors have been manning the phones every few months to hear what potential voters are saying about political candidates and current events. Through the Saint Anselm College Survey Center at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP), more than 60 student pollsters are getting a unique behind-the-scenes look at the polling process and its impact on politics and the media. 

The students have been trained, certified by the college’s Institutional Review Board, and taught how to conduct formal phone interviews using the polling software. Calling registered New Hampshire voters at random, the pollsters are provided a script for each survey, aiming to complete as many calls as possible during their three-hour shifts. 

Politics major Madison Mangels ’19 believes polling has strengthened her communication skills, which are critical for political aspirants like herself. Kevin Chrisom ’22 says that the interviews have helped improve his listening skills.

“As a politics major, it’s always interesting finding out why people vote the way they do and the circumstances behind it,” Chrisom noted. “Listening to voters has helped me gauge how they feel about certain candidates given the amount of time it takes for them to answer a particular question.”

“Hearing their views and finding out how they will vote certainly impacts the election,” he continued. “That’s why I’m so interested in finding out what they have to say.” 

Students say they enjoy being part of the polling process, and find the final results rewarding. “When I’m watching the news and see them talking about a poll I was a part of, I feel like we’re helping to shape the story,” said Nickolas Fulchino ’19, also a politics major. “I love knowing that Saint Anselm College is making an effort to understand the opinions of our community.”

After midterm elections, the Survey Center will focus on the presidential primary to understand how first-in-the-nation voters are feeling ahead of 2020. Student pollsters will get a firsthand look at where candidates stand going in to the next presidential election, as well as New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate and U.S. House races.