Press Releases


AP VoteCast to survey voters in all 50 states in US election

NEW YORK – The Associated Press will deploy AP VoteCast, the modern approach to election research, to survey voters in all 50 states in the U.S. general election on Nov. 3.

The voter survey reaches beyond the battleground states, offering data with depth and delivering highly accurate results that paint a detailed picture of who voted and why, starting at 5 p.m. ET on Election Day.

AP VoteCast will provide insights into the race for president, every race for governor and U.S. Senate, as well as statewide U.S. House races. With an expected sample size of 140,000, AP VoteCast will provide journalists, researchers and others the most detailed real-time assessment of the national electorate available from any source.

Conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, AP VoteCast surveys voters by mail, phone and online, using an approach designed for how America increasingly votes today: early, absentee and by mail.

Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Univision and PBS “NewsHour” are among the broadcasters, newspapers, digital outlets and others that will use the data in their coverage of this year’s election.

“In many ways, AP VoteCast uses the ideal methodology to conduct accurate research about the electorate during the pandemic,” said AP Deputy Managing Editor David Scott, who oversees AP’s decision desk and public opinion research. “AP VoteCast was designed for a future where more Americans vote before polls open on Election Day than on Election Day itself. The pandemic has only accelerated the transition to that future, which means one thing we don’t have to do differently this year is scramble to invent a new way to survey the electorate. We came into 2020 ready for this moment.”

“NORC is proud to continue our collaboration with The Associated Press where we work together to provide a modern and innovative solution to a critical need – providing accurate and timely information about the views of voters in the election,” said Trevor Tompson, senior vice president for public affairs and media research at NORC.  “We bring NORC’s commitment to scientific integrity, accuracy and transparency to this extremely important work.”

Based on a decade of research, AP VoteCast debuted in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. The survey produced highly accurate estimates of results in races for Senate and governor, as well as a picture of the electorate that mirrored the later findings about who voted in the election from the U.S. Census Bureau’s benchmark Current Population Survey.

Proving its worth as America continues to transition away from casting ballots at neighborhood polling places on Election Day, AP VoteCast’s estimates of the advance vote in states in the 2018 U.S. midterms had an average error of less than 2 percentage points.

As they did after the 2018 midterms, AP and NORC again plan to share the results returned by AP VoteCast’s innovative methodology for peer and academic review. The methodology behind the survey is available online, and results from AP VoteCast’s research in the 2020 Democratic primaries will be made available for review in October.

Along with helping AP call races on Election Day, data from AP VoteCast — when paired with AP’s vote count — ensures AP and its customers have all the information they need to tell the story of the U.S. presidential primaries and general elections.

The Associated Press is the most trusted source of information on election night with a history of accuracy dating to 1848. AP collects and verifies U.S. election returns in every county, parish, city and town across the country, covering races down to the legislative level in every state. This year AP will declare winners in some 7,000 contests.

About NORC at the University of Chicago

NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.


Lauren Easton
Global Director of Media Relations and Corporate Communications
The Associated Press

Patrick Maks
Media Relations Manager
The Associated Press

Eric Young
Senior External Affairs Manager
NORC at the University of Chicago

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