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Should the Problems with Polls Make Us Worry about the Quality of Health Surveys? (my talk at CDC tomorrow)

My talk this Thursday at CDC, Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 12:00 noon, 2400 Century Center, Room 1015C:

Should the Problems with Polls Make Us Worry about the Quality of Health Surveys?

Response rates in public opinion polls have been steadily declining for more than half a century and are currently heading toward the 0% mark. We have learned much in recent years about the problems this is causing and how we can improve data collection and statistical analysis to get better estimates of opinion and opinion trends. In this talk, we review research in this area and then discuss the relevance of this work to similar problems in health surveys.

P.S. I gave the talk. There were no slides. OK, I did send along a subset of these, but I spent only about 5 minutes on them out of a 40-minute lecture, so the slides will give you close to zero sense of what I was talking about. I have further thoughts about the experience which I’ll save for a future post, but for now just let me say that if you weren’t at the talk, and you don’t know anyone who was there, then the slides won’t help.


  1. Isaac says:

    Would it by any chance be possible to post the slides? Or do you know if they will be recording it?

  2. Jon says:

    Slides would be much appreciated. We are currently engaged in a number of healthcare surveys in heart failure and are keenly interested in your criticisms and commentary. Thanks.

  3. Andrew says:

    Eric, Isaac, Jon:

    See P.S. above.

  4. Isaac says:

    Thanks! Though too bad. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it in a future post.

  5. Jeff R says:

    Thank you for speaking today

  6. Chad Heilig says:

    I rather enjoyed the presentation. Theres’s a little backstory to how it came about. My supervisor shared a NY Times piece about presidential election results and polls, and he wondered if methodological issues in polling could be seen to call into question the scientific quality of some of CDC’s survey work. So I recommended you. I was pleased when you agreed to do it.

    I regret the odd technical difficulties at the beginning. I kind of loved that most of the talk didn’t rely on slides — no problem with slides, but a nice nod to the art of oratory. So, many thanks to Andrew. And not just because you called CDC “a band of heroes” (though that didn’t hurt).

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