Race of Interviewer Effects in Telephone Surveys Preceding the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election


Race of interviewer effects are presumed to occur in surveys because respondents answer questions differently depending on interviewer race. This article explored an alternative explanation: differential respondent recruitment. Data from telephone interviews conducted during the 2008 U.S. Presidential election campaign by major survey organizations (ABC News/Washington Post, CBS News/New York Times, and Gallup) indicate that African-American interviewers were more likely to elicit statements of the intent to vote for Barack Obama than White interviewers. But this effect occurred because African-American interviewers were more likely than White interviewers to elicit survey participation by African-American respondents, and/or White interviewers were more likely to elicit participation by White respondents. Thus, differences between interviewers in terms of responses obtained are not necessarily because of respondent lying.

International Journal of Public Opinion Research