National spotlight on local college’s research institute

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LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Siena College’s Research Institute is actively searching for people to become pollsters.

Callers contact thousands of people throughout the nation asking various political and social questions.

Catherine Desantis said after retirement it’s been hard to find a job. Desantis said being a pollster not only gives her a source of extra income, but a sense of purpose.

“Nights where you’re really busy and you’re giving a lot of surveys are very good nights. You feel really good about the work you did when you leave here,” Desantis said.

The institute calls thousands of people a day, but has trouble getting those who answer the phone to complete the survey. Director Don Levy contributes this to the rise in spam and robocalls.

“We live in an era where the interest in what we do has never been higher, but the public’s willingness to participate has never been lower,” Levy said.

Despite challenges in getting people to respond, Levy said Siena’s poll, which is used by the New York Times, has a low margin of error.

Levy said though the institute did not do a national poll in 2016, they did predict President Donald Trump winning Florida and other states.

“How much credence should people put in [polls]? They should take a tremendous amount of credence in it,” Levy said.

A recent poll for the upcoming Iowa Caucasus predicts a Bernie Sanders victory.

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