FAQs

FAQ FOR SURVEY PARTICIPANTS (Local Leaders) 

1. How was I selected to be part of this survey? 

Each year we collect the publicly available contact information for government officials across the 50 states and at the local and state levels. For each survey, we then select the relevant group from this contact list to invite to participate. If you have received one of our surveys, then you were randomly selected from our list of government officials for a particular survey. We value your input and hope you’ll consider being part of this new initiative! 

  

2. I am having technical difficulties with completing the survey. What should I do? 

Please contact us, and we will ensure you receive help or a fresh survey link. 

  

3. I am a local government official but have not received a formal invitation to participate. Can I take CivicPulse surveys in the future? 

Of course! CivicPulse is constantly working to ensure our survey panel represents a wide range of local officials across the country, and we welcome your participation.  Please sign up using this form. 

 

4. Will my responses remain confidential? 

Absolutely! We treat the security of your personal information with the utmost care. None of the data is released until all personally identifying information is removed. 

  

5. How long will each survey be? 

Although each survey varies somewhat, the average survey time is around 10 minutes. 

  

6. Can I see the results of the survey? 

Yes! One of our aims is to produce data that can be used by government officials to learn about others. After each survey, we will send all participants who request it a link to the summary report of the findings. We will also post this report on our website for others who are interested. 

 

FAQ for Researchers 

 

1. Who is included in your respondent pool? How representative is it? 

CivicPulse maintains a dynamically updated contact list of elected executives and elected legislators associated with all townships, municipalities, and counties in the United States with populations of 1,000 or more (98% coverage). Each survey includes a random sample of officials from this list. Invitations to participate in each survey are sent via email and implemented through Qualtrics. Our first-time invitees respond at a rate of 7-8%; of these, over 80% of respondents agree to participate again in future surveys. Our surveys routinely include representation of policymakers from nearly all 50 states and both major political parties. Consistent with nationally representative mass public surveys, our surveys modestly overrepresent more urban and more populated localities than the national average. To address this, we provide survey weights based on conventional raking procedures. 

  

2. How do I propose survey content for a future CivicPulse survey? When is the next deadline to submit a proposal? How does the Call For Proposal work? 

You can submit a survey proposal. Our current Call for Proposals is detailed here

 

3. Why do you limit the number and length of the surveys you field? 

Our hope is that CivicPulse can create a sustainable resource for the collection of information and data about local government on an ongoing basis. This means treating policymaker survey time like the common-pool, scarce resource that it is. In deciding how many surveys to run, we take the long view to maintain the viability of this resource for years to come. 

  

4. Will I receive the identities of the survey respondents? 

No. A key component of our survey platform is that public officials can trust that their identities will remain confidential. We de-identify all survey responses before making them publicly available. However, by matching public officials to Census information about the geographic areas they represent, we do provide the ability to draw inferences about subsamples of elected officials (e.g., officials representing rural vs. urban areas). 

  

5. Why don’t you offer 1,000 respondents per survey like other survey companies? 

Because of the limited number of local elected officials, reaching 1,000 respondents is much more challenging than when surveying the general population. 

  

6. How do I access past CivicPulse data?  

We intend to eventually make all de-identified survey data publicly available. However, some of the data we have collected is contractually under embargo for up to eighteen months. If you wish to access the responses to a specific set of questions we have fielded in the past, please write us at info@civicpulse.org and we’ll do our best to share that data with you. 

 
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