Survey of Idaho General Public

The findings in The People's Perspective are based on 1,000 interviews conducted by telephone with a randomly-selected representative sample of Idaho adults 18 years old and older in autumn 2018. The survey was preceded by two focus groups with Idahoans. The analysis is the third in a series of surveys conducted to document the Idaho public’s attitudes about public education.

The Survey

Telephone interviews with a randomly-selected cross-section of Idaho adults (n=1,000) took place between October 23 and November 20, 2018. The average length of an interview was 16.7 minutes. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. The margin of error increases for sub-groups within the sample; for example, the statewide random sample generated 391 completed interviews with parents of children under 18 years old. When the study reports the views of parents — a sub-group of the total sample — the margin of error to take into account is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

To ensure that a random sample of households was interviewed, the study employed a dual-frame landline/cell phone sampling design. Theoretically, this gave every household in Idaho an equal chance of being selected, including those with unlisted landline numbers and no landline (cell phone-only households). According to a December 2017 National Health Statistics Reports, 64.4 percent of Idaho adults live in wireless-only households*. For the landline interviews, a standard-random-digit-dialing technology was used, along with age-targeted landline sample. For the cell phone interviews, dialing began with active random wireless numbers (no age target). Towards the middle of the field period both landline and cell samples were targeted by age in order to reach a sufficient number of 18-34 year olds. A total of 298 interviews (30%) were completed on landlines, and 702 (70%) on cell phones. The final survey data are weighted to population parameters for age to account for over-representation of older adults in the sampling frame.

*U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Released 12/2017

To minimize non-response bias, interviews were conducted on each day of the week and at different times of the day. If a respondent indicated a better time for the interview, call-backs were made accordingly. Typically, between 3 and 6 attempts were made for each unique telephone number in the sample.

The Questionnaire

As in all surveys, non-sampling sources of error could also have an impact on survey results. The survey instrument used in this study was extensively pre-tested to ensure that the language was accessible and appropriate to members of the general public, including those who may not be familiar with the topic of public schools. Questions were randomized and answer categories rotated in an effort to minimize non-sampling sources of error (order bias). The questionnaire was designed by the FDR Group, and all interpretation of the data reflected in this report was done by the FDR Group.

Sample was obtained from Marketing Systems Group. The telephone interviews and data collection were provided by Wiese Research Associates.

The Focus Groups

In September 2018, two focus groups were conducted with members of the general public, one each in Boise and Fruitland. The focus group participants were carefully recruited to represent the socioeconomic demographics of the respective communities, and they included both men and women, mothers and fathers, people of different races/ethnicities, older and younger, college educated and not. The purpose of the focus group discussions was to gauge understanding of the issues at hand and the energy these issues tap. The groups were also useful in testing and developing the survey instrument. Focus groups allow for an in-depth, qualitative exploration of the dynamics underlying people’s attitudes towards complex issues. Quotes from the focus groups are used in the report to give voice to attitudes captured statistically through the survey interviews.

Characteristics of the Sample

The following tables compare demographics of the Idaho population with the weighted and unweighted survey samples.

Gender Population Weighted Unweighted
Male: 50% 50% 50%
Female: 50% 50% 50%
US Census:
Race/Ethnicity Population Weighted Unweighted
Hispanic: 11% 12% 11%
White: 89% 84% 85%
US Census:
Education Population Weighted Unweighted
High school or less: 37% 18% 18%
Some college, 2-year degree: 36% 45% 44%
4-year or Graduate degree: 27% 36% 38%
US Census:
Age Population Weighted Unweighted
18-34: 31% 30% 25%
35-54: 35% 32% 34%
55-64: 16% 17% 17%
65+: 17% 21% 23%
US Census:
Urbanicity Population Weighted Unweighted
Urban: 66% 66% 67%
Non-urban: 34% 33% 33%
“Rural Idaho since the Recession,” Idaho at a Glance, August 2015, Vol. 6, No. 2
Region Population Weighted Unweighted
North: 20% 20% 20%
East: 22% 23% 23%
South West: 46% 45% 45%
South Central: 12% 13% 12%