With Elon Poll, students can play a role in 'one of the most exciting elections' of their lives

Student workers are now being recruited for The Elon University Poll, which will conduct three surveys this fall before Election Day in November. 

This election season has defied expectations, and promises to only heat up between now and Election Day. Add to that the transformation of North Carolina into a battleground state in the presidential contest, and the importance of the Elon University Poll continues to grow as it prepares to begin gauging the preferences and interests of prospective voters this fall. 

“This election is perhaps the most important in a generation,” said Jason Husser, assistant professor of political science and the director of the Elon University Poll. “It’s certainly one of the most exciting elections during the lifetimes of Elon students.”

The Elon Poll will soon begin the first of three surveys to be conducted this fall, and the poll relies on dozens of students to dial up registered voters in North Carolina. Each night during what’s typically a five-night stretch for each survey, a team of about 40 students works a four-hour shift calling residents around the state with a line-up of about 30 questions. 

Registration to work at the Elon Poll is now open — click here to find more details and to sign up. 

Students participate for a variety of reasons, Husser said. Some are just looking for short-term job opportunities — the poll pays $10 an hour, and offers all-you-can eat pizza. Some are attracted to the Elon Poll because they’re interested in a variety of data-driven careers, and working in survey research helps provide some experience in that area, Husser said. 

“And a lot of our students who work at the poll do have an interest in politics,” Husser said. “I do get the sense that through the process of participating in the poll, they become more engaged in the elections themselves.”

For each poll, workers make their way through a list of about 15,000 distinct telephone numbers to complete between 750 to 1,000 surveys of registered N.C. voters. Each survey takes about 10 minutes to complete. “Many students are there for a part-time job or because of a career interest, but I hope they also enjoy being exposed to people from different backgrounds from around the state.”

The Elon Poll will have its first survey in the field next week, with two more surveys to be conducted before Election Day on Nov. 8. Those interested in working can sign up online, and will need to complete a one-hour training before working.

For many Elon students, this will be the first election they are eligible to vote in, which adds significance to an already significant day at the polls, Husser said. 

“Not only are they participating in the election as a citizen, but by working at the poll, they are also having some impact on the ground about how people think about the election itself,” he said.