Elon University leverages Lucid to find census – representative online sample

The Challenge

The Elon University Poll, which conducts non-partisan surveys on issues of importance to residents of its home state of North Carolina and around the country, needed a way to solve for the declining response rates of telephone surveys.

With the consistent decrease in telephone response rates, telephone surveys have become expensive, and the telephone data is less demographically representative. 

“A telephone survey interviewer may make calls during an entire shift and not complete a single survey,” said Jason Husser, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Elon Poll.

“So, the cost per completion for a telephone survey is cost-prohibitive. Furthermore, it means that we question the assumptions of random sampling when response rates are that low.”

“We turned to Lucid because
it was a way we could more affordably reach respondents
in MSAs across the US. We
found that the demographics of Lucid’s respondents matched what we expected from US census parameters”

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“We’ve produced several projects that we would not have done otherwise, simply because we have access to Lucid, and that allows us to turn out low-cost surveys that are high quality.”

Solution

Elon University partnered with Lucid to augment its telephone surveys with online surveys. While the accuracy of online sample has been debated among political pollsters, Husser found that Lucid’s sample is effectively representative of the US census. 

“We turned to Lucid because it was a way we could more affordably reach respondents in MSAs [metropolitan statistical areas] across the US,” said Husser. “We found that the demographics of Lucid’s respondents matched what we expected from US census parameters.” 

Benefits

Supplementing telephone survey data with online sample from Lucid has been extremely valuable to the Elon Poll. 

“In the past year, I’ve run five or six different projects that we’ve released using Lucid data. It’s been helpful when we’re concerned that we won’t be able to get a sufficient sample size with a telephone survey,” Husser said.

Lucid also contributed to an increase in the number of studies the Elon Poll has completed. In the past, Husser and his team had to limit their output of studies due to time or cost constraints.

“Lucid has allowed us to work on projects that, in the past, we would have said ‘that’s just not going to be possible for cost reasons,’” Husser recalled. “We’ve produced several projects that we would not have done otherwise, simply because we have access to Lucid, and that allows us to turn out low-cost surveys that are high quality.” 

Another benefit of working with Lucid is the sheer scale of its marketplace. 

“The size of Lucid’s pool of sample allows for targeting to very specific areas. So, for instance, we’re able to turn out 1,500 cases in North Carolina within two days. That’s simply not possible with a call center, unless it’s gigantic,” explained Husser.

Results

Using Lucid’s Marketplace, Husser and his team have been able to more efficiently run studies on issues that are relevant to the people of North Carolina. 

Husser said, “I’m much less likely to say no when someone calls and tells me ‘this is a really important topic that you should be working on,’ because we can field surveys really affordably with Lucid.”

One such study gauged people’s perceptions of Amazon’s search for its new headquarters, in 19 different municipalities across the country. 

“The Amazon HQ2 search process had a lot of really interesting implications for public policy,” recalled Husser. “The challenge, as someone who’s primarily been a telephone survey researcher, is that it’s cost-prohibitive to do telephone surveys in over a dozen cities at the same time.”

The HQ2 survey project was complex, using various quotas to ensure the representativeness of the sample. However, it was very successful, and Husser attributes a large part of his positive experience to the expertise of the Lucid team. 

“It was great working with Lucid to learn the different steps to use the Marketplace and discuss surveying idiosyncrasies that you can only learn from experts like the Lucid team,” said Husser. 

“Lucid has allowed us to work on projects that, in the past, we would have said ‘that’s just
not going to be possible for
cost reasons.”

Want to learn more about Lucid’s solutions? Get in touch with our team.

Lucid sits at the center of the programmatic insights ecosystem. While we’re not a survey platform or a market research firm, Lucid’s sampling Marketplace operates between the two. 

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