Exploring Berkeley IGS Poll Data In Python

August 6, 2020

Between April 16 and 20, 2020 the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS)(link is external), in conjunction with the California Institute of Health Equity and Action(Cal-IHEA)(link is external), polled 8,800 registered voters about a variety of issues concerning the current state of politics and COVID-19. This was an unprecedented and urgently needed pulse-taking of the California populace during the pandemic. A more recent Berkeley IGS Poll from July 2020 that follows up on these and other issues of importance to Californians was just completed - so read on for information on how to access the results.

In this post we provide an overview of the Berkeley IGS Poll and describe how key findings from this survey are reported in the Berkeley IGS Poll Reports while the data itself is made available by the D-Lab.

We then provide a detailed tutorial on how to access and explore the Berkeley IGS Poll data, as well as other California Poll data, in Python.

About The Berkeley IGS Poll

The Berkeley IGS Poll(link is external) is a periodic survey of California public opinion on important matters of politics, public policy, and public issues. The poll, which is disseminated widely to California registered voters, seeks to provide a broad measure of contemporary public opinion, and to generate data for subsequent scholarly analysis. Berkeley IGS Polls have been distributed 2-4 times per year since 2015.

The Berkeley IGS Polls continue the tradition of the California Field Polls. The Field Poll, or the California Poll, was established in 1947 by Mervin Field(link is external) and operated continuously as an independent, non-partisan, media-sponsored public opinion news service from 1946 - 2014. Prior to their discontinuation, IGS collaborated with the Field Poll on a number of polls in 2011 and 2012.

Berkeley IGS Poll Reports

IGS staff and affiliates, as well as other UC Berkeley researchers, analyze the reponses from each survey and publish summary reports of key findings as part of the Berkeley IGS Poll report series. Typically many reports are produced per survey. Recent IGS Poll reports can be downloaded from eScholarship(link is external). You can stay abreast of new IGS Polls and reports by using the form on the IGS website to join the IGS mailing list(link is external).

Accessing the Berkeley IGS and California Field Poll Data

The D-Lab makes the IGS and Field Poll data available via SDA(link is external). SDA, or Survey Documentation and Analysis is an online tool for survey data analysis that also provides a platform for managing the survey data files and related documentation and facilitating their download. SDA was developed at UC, Berkeley but since 2015 it has been managed and supported by the Institute for Scientific Analysis (ISA), a private, non-profit organization, under agreement with the University of California.

A complete list of the IGS and Field polls that are accessible via SDA can be found on the D-Lab Data California Polls webpage.

Tutorial Time

If you would like to check out the process of downloading Berkely IGS and California Poll data from SDA and then using Python for a little exploratory data analysis and map making, check out this detailed Python tutorial(link is external) and companion gihub repository (link is external)which contains the Python notebook and data needed to follow along.

 If you are interested in learning more about Python and other computational tools and methods for data analysis and visualization,  sign up for the D-Lab newsletter(link is external) and also take a look at our calendar of events which is updated weekly. We are kicking off the Fall 2020 semester with a full slate of introductory workshops on R, Python, Stata, Qualtrics, MaxQDA and more!