Results for this survey are based on telephone interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates among a nationwide sample of 1,485 adults, 18 years of age or older, from October 9-12, 2008 (1,110 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 375 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 114 who had no landline telephone). Both the landline and cell phone samples were provided by Survey Sampling International.

The combined landline and cell phone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race/ethnicity, region, and population density to parameters from the March 2007 Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The sample is also weighted to match current patterns of telephone status and relative usage of landline and cell phones (for those with both), based on extrapolations from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure also accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline and cell phones have a greater probability of being included in the sample.

The following table shows the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey:

Group Sample Size Plus or minus…
Total sample 1,485 3.0 percentage points
Republicans 428 5.5 percentage points
Democrats 519 5.0 percentage points
Independents 451 5.5 percentage points
Registered voters 1,278 3.5 percentage points
Republican voters 393 5.5 percentage points
Democratic voters 461 5.5 percentage points
Independent voters 370 6.0 percentage points

In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.