Stockton dedicates polling institute at Hughes Center

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Stockton President Herman J. Saatkamp cuts the ribbon to dedicate the new Stockton Polling Institute. Participants included, from left, Mrs. Nancy Hughes, Ambassador William J. Hughes, Saatkamp and Sen. Christopher J. Connors.

GALLOWAY – Richard Stockton College President Herman J. Saatkamp led the dedication of the new Stockton Polling Institute in the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy on campus here Friday, Sept. 14.

The polling institute will conduct independent public opinion polling and will use its own staff and Stockton students to conduct survey research on elections and issues of importance to New Jersey and to the state’s southern region. The interview staff includes more than 50 people, both Stockton students and members of the community.

The facility for the polling institute was recently renovated and equipped with 24 workstations, telephones, computers and specialized survey research software.

“The Stockton Polling Institute will enhance the Hughes Center role as the voice of Southern New Jersey citizens as they express their opinions on issues,” Saatkamp said. “We are also able to offer an educational experience for our students while providing real jobs.”

Joining Saatkamp at the dedication was Ambassador William J. Hughes, for whom the Hughes Center is named, and the 9th District legislative team, state Sen. Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf, and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove. Galloway is in the 9th Legislative District.

Hughes said “Stockton College has arrived” with the establishment of the polling institute. He said a polling institute was part of the original plan for the Hughes Center and that the center “has reached a new plateau.”

The first polls planned by the Stockton Polling Institute will gauge preferences in this fall’s elections, including in the 3rd Congressional District race pitting incumbent Republican Rep. Jon Runyan against Democratic challenger Shelley Adler, widow of the late Rep. John Adler, who lost to Runyan in 2010.

The 3rd Congressional District is regarded as one of the most competitive congressional races in the country by the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Democratic National Congressional Committee and the National Journal and The New York Times.

The Stockton Polling Institute will poll in the 2nd Congressional District that includes Atlantic County and much of the southernmost region of New Jersey. It also plans to conduct a statewide poll.

College officials emphasized that the Stockton Polling Institute is not involved in telemarketing, and that callers will be conducting research, not selling anything.

Saatkamp urged South Jersey residents to take the surveys if the polling institute randomly selects their homes to call.

“These are your sons and daughters and members of your communities who are conducting survey research,” the college president said. “Your cooperation will help Stockton College accomplish its mission of education and engagement.”

The Stockton Polling Institute plans to offer polling services to outside clients starting in January 2013.

Saatkamp said the institute will create a number of opportunities for the college community. It will create learning and employment opportunities for students, and open new avenues of research for Stockton faculty and staff.

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