Friday, January 21, 2022

Homelessness Survey: How It Was Done

Two years ago, the Los Angeles Times partnered with the Los Angeles Business Council Institute to conduct a groundbreaking survey on attitudes towards the homeless. This year’s poll was designed to see how much public opinion has changed after nearly two years of a deadly pandemic.

As in 2019, the LABC Institute hired Hart Research to conduct the survey in collaboration with The Times. The polling company based in Washington DC has extensive experience across the country, including Los Angeles.

The poll interviewed 906 Los Angeles County voters from October 27 to November 3 by telephone (602 interviews) and online (304 interviews). The results have a total error of 3.3 percentage points in either direction. The margin of error for subgroups is greater.

The firm also conducted two focus groups with Los Angeles County constituencies, one before the poll and the other after.

The Times has been contracted by the University of California, Berkeley Institute for Government Studies, which has conducted other polls for The Times over the past few years, so that its polling director, Mark DiCamillo, can act as an advisor to The Times on the poll.

Times reporters and editors suggested survey questions and participated in discussions on the question wording and survey design. The final decisions on the content of the survey were made by the LABC Institute.
The survey respondents were selected from the California Voter File, a publicly available database of registered voters. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish, depending on the preference of the respondent. Internet respondents were selected from an online panel and screened for their registration status and other demographic characteristics to take part in the survey.

The survey conducted additional interviews with Black and Asian American Pacific voters to adequately analyze these groups. A total of 126 black voters and 135 AAPI voters were interviewed. In the final data, the racial groups were re-weighted to reflect their actual proportions of the Los Angeles County electorate.

Poll quotas are set to achieve proper geographic, demographic and party distribution; Upon completion of the interview, Hart Research applied minimum weights for geographic region, party registration, age, gender, and education to ensure that the sample reflects the overall demographics of registered voters in Los Angeles County.

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