RMU Polling Institute launch a success


Paul Wintruba

Sunset on the campus of Robert Morris University. Photo Credit: (RMU Sentry Media/Paul Wintruba)

The Robert Morris University Polling Institute successfully released the results of their first conducted survey sponsored by Trib Total Media.

As the University has grown over the years, so has the idea of creating the study institution. The goal is to raise the RMU’s national profile, enhance their professional reputation and encourage faculty research.

“We are no longer a commuter campus. We have been a university now for about twelve years. We really wanted to make sure that peoples’ perception of the University matched reality,” said Jonathan Potts, Senior Director of Public Relations.

The RMU Polling Institute conducts national and regional opinion polls based on current affairs and the expertise of the RMU faculty. Unlike other polling school competitors (such as Quinnipiac University) Robert Morris will stray away from a political concentration.

Instead, they will provide a variety of other pressing issues including health, environment, economic policy, higher education and gender.

“We are just getting off the ground. It would be presumptuous to put ourselves in their category,” said Potts. “It was like a slow burn rather than a big bang. We saw meeting coverage that was consistent from several weeks after we announced the results. We even started to see third parties site our polls. So I think that is very exciting.”

The polling institute is jointly organized by the Offices of Academic Affairs and Institutional Advancement. The institute works under the direction of an advisory board that includes a representative from each of RMU’s five academic schools.

To promote the results, the RMU polling institute has joined forces with Trib Total Media. The need for a sophisticated sponsor initially arose after problems were faced during a test run through a local research firm.

Ralph Martin, president and CEO of Trib Total Media, was eager to jump on board with the initiative in order to bring more media coverage to the institution.

The first round of polling took place at the end of October, and included a sample of 1,003 online surveys. According to Potts, online polls are essentially less expensive and are proven to give more effective results, due to technology advancements.

The Center for Research and Public Policy submitted the full survey report in November. The results were distributed with the help of their sponsor. Several media outlets reported on the findings, and over one-thousand web sites posted the press releases through PR Newswire.

The first results covered general health and wellness within the nation, natural gas drilling, concussions in youth football, and the Affordable Care Act. Full results can be found here: http://www.rmu.edu/PollingInstitute/cmp-media/docs/Poll/rmupollfall2013.pdf

“RMU has enjoyed unprecedented success these last several years in all facets of our operations. This new initiative will bolster that success and further elevate the university’s prestige,” wrote Dr. Gregory Dell’Omo, president of Robert Morris, in a letter to the faculty.

Polling will be conducted at least four times each year but more frequently as topics present themselves.

Currently in action is the development of the new questionnaire. The topics covered include gender equity issues (women in the workplace), college affordability, climate change and a glance over the 2014 congressional race.

The final results will be posted at the end of March.