The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll was created by experts at the university, led by the McCombs School of Business and its Energy Management and Innovation Center, working closely with an advisory board and stakeholders across the energy spectrum. The poll is administered by Toluna, NA, a leader in online research that manages one of the world’s largest internet-based research panels with more than 4.5 million registered and active users. Funding is provided by the McCombs School of Business.
The fourth iteration of The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll was conducted online between March 11 and March 20, 2013, among 2,113 U.S. residents aged 18 and over. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. A propensity score weighting approach was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to answer online surveys.
All surveys are subject to multiple sources of error. Most of these errors are often impossible to quantify. In addition to sampling error, these errors include coverage error, non-response error, interviewer bias when appropriate, and the error associated with how a question is asked or the response options given. Therefore it is advisable to avoid the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted probability samples with 100 percent response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal. If this were the case, with a sample size of 2,113 and weighting efficiency of 50 percent, the overall margin of error would be 3.2 percentage points at the widest interval.
As respondents for the survey were chosen from Toluna’s proprietary panel of survey respondents, this sample is not a probability sample and as such the conditions for calculating a margin of error are not met.