7. Sampling Procedures
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According to a New York Times/CBS News poll taken in April 2009, for the first time in CBS poll-taking history a majority of African Americans reported U.S. race relations to be “good.” Fifty-nine percent of African Americans polled indicated that race relations were good, compared to only 29% who answered similarly less than one year before. The poll indicated a 30% rise (CBS News/New York Times, 2009). (Consider the fact that the poll was taken shortly after the election of Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States). White Americans have consistently seen race relations as generally good, however—even White Americans’ perceptions of race relations as such rose nearly 10% (from 55% to 65%) (CBS News/New York Times, 2009). The poll was conducted by way of a national random sample of 973 Americans, interviewed by telephone April 22–29, 2009. Of the 973 respondents, 701 were White and 212 were Black. Researchers sampled phone numbers using random digit dialing (RDD) of landline telephones and cell phones. CBS and The New York Times were both involved in the sampling process. In this chapter we will discuss how CBS and The New York Times’s sample of over 900 people can actually represent the attitudes of millions of people. In addition, we will discuss the strategic limitations of the study conducted by CBS News and The New York Times and how to avoid them.