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Percentage of young respondents rises with new survey method using text messaging

  • May 14, 2019
  • , Mainichi , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

A joint experiment conducted by Saitama University Social Survey Research Center and research agency Green Ship Co. found that a poll using short message service (SMS) texts on mobile devices achieved a higher proportion of young respondents than conventional polling methods had achieved in the past. “This survey method tailored to respondents appears to have been welcomed by young voters, who are familiar with the use of smartphones,” speculated Professor Masao Matsumoto, who heads the Center.


The poll was conducted once a month from April to December last year, a total of nine times, with the target of collecting 1,500 to 2,000 responses. In the experiment, researchers made calls to random phone numbers created by a computer using interactive voice responses. The web address of an online survey was sent via SMS to those who agreed to participate.


According to Matsumoto, people aged in their teens and 20s made up approximately 15% of the respondents to the experimental opinion poll carried out by the two organizations, which is 1 percentage point higher than the proportion of those in this age group in the fiscal 2015 census.


In current surveys carried out by the press, media organizations call random phone numbers created by computers and ask people to answer questionnaires over the phone. Such phone calls were made to mobile phones in addition to landline telephones starting around 2016 in a bid to incorporate the views of younger generations. These surveys, however, tend to have a lower ratio of young respondents compared to the ratio of people in the same age group as shown by the census. Matsumoto expressed hope over the possibility that the new survey method using SMS may be an alternative to the current method of conducting surveys over the phone.


A research paper on the experiment appeared in the Center’s academic journal Policy & Research (No. 16; published in March 2019).

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