Cultural Artefact: The Saulwick Age Poll (1971 - 1994)
- Alternative Names
- The Age Poll
- The Age-ASRB Poll (1971 - 1974)
- The Saulwick Poll
The Age Poll was launched by The Age newspaper on 24 March, 1971 as an ongoing survey of Australian social and political trends, "to get beneath the surface of community attitudes and trace the underlying pattern of Australia's social values". Poll questions were developed by Irving Saulwick in consultation with representatives from The Age newspaper and the Political Science Department of the University of Melbourne.
The poll began as a quarterly exercise, later increasing to monthly. Frequency of the polls fluctuated throughout its lifespan and special one-off polls were regularly conducted in response to political events of the day. The poll was discontinued for a period between September 1982 and July 1984.
Initially published under the banner of The Age-ASRB Poll and conducted by the ASRB, from 1975 the Poll was administered by Irving Saulwick & Associates and identified simply as The Age Poll. In July 1987 it was rebadged as The Saulwick Age Poll. The poll was also published by sister newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, first as 'The Herald Survey' and later as 'The Sydney Morning Herald Saulwick Poll'.
The Saulwick Age Poll ran as a regular survey in The Age until 1994. Occasional Saulwick Polls continued to be commissioned and published on a one-off basis by the newspaper after this date.
The Age-ASRB Poll, as it was initially known, was established in 1971 by Irving Saulwick and the Australian Sales Research Bureau as a survey into the opinions and attitudes of Australians, conducted on behalf of Melbourne newspaper The Age.
In addition to publication by The Age, the poll appeared regularly in the newspaper's NSW counterpart, The Sydney Morning Herald, where it ran under the banner 'The Herald Survey'. ASRB Poll data was also published in the ACT by another Fairfax newspaper, The Canberra Times, and by the Sunday Independent newspaper in Western Australia.
In mid-1974, the frequency of polling was increased from quarterly to monthly. The relationship between ASRB and The Age ended later that same year, and from 1975 the poll was administered by Irving Saulwick and Associates, thereafter appearing in The Age under the banner 'Age Poll'. Following a review in 1987, the poll was rebranded as 'The Saulwick Poll' and changes were introduced so that interview data was now obtained through telephone polling conducted in-house at The Age. This enabled a much faster turn around between collection of data and publication of polls: 8-10 days, where it had previously taken up to three weeks.
From its commencement, the poll was designed using proven polling methodology that would warrant extrapolation of the sample data as representative of the opinions of a wider population. The initial poll sample comprised 500 residents of Melbourne and 500 residents of Sydney. In time, this was increased to a sample size of 2000, and more extensive geographical coverage. Until the introduction of in-house phone polling by The Age staffers in 1987, interviews were conducted in person, undertaken by fieldwork research companies contracted for that purpose.