You’ve Sent Mail: How Constituents Judge Their Representatives by the Snail Mail They Send—and Ways to Improve Future Correspondence:
Each year, the House of Representatives spends millions of dollars on postage to send mail to constituents; unfortunately, it is difficult for Members to judge whether citizens find these deliveries worthwhile resources. To remediate this problem, the Congressional Institute commissioned Presentation Testing, Inc., to research constituents’ expectations of their elected officials’ use of the mail system. Based on national surveys and two focus groups from different areas of the country, this report provides vital suggestions to make Congressional mailings more economical and efficient.
Summary of Findings | Full Text (PDF)

The Data-Driven Congressional Office: Evaluating E-Newsletter Trends to More Effectively Connect with Constituents:
With the rise electronic communication technologies, e-newsletters have afforded Members of Congress a great opportunity to broadcast their messages quickly and cheaply to many constituents. However, it can be hard for Congressional offices to gauge whether they are being opened and what techniques should be used to promote high open rates. This report, based on a thorough analysis of data from Congressional e-newsletter mailings and focus groups of voters, contains a number of powerful suggestions to improve open rates. Rich Thau, president of Presentation Testing, Inc., researched and wrote the study.
Summary of Findings | Full Text (PDF)

Helping a 221-Year-Old Institution Harness Cutting-Edge Communication Technologies: Research Findings to Enhance Congressional Contact with Constituents and the Media:
New communication technologies have proliferated recently, and Congressional offices have quickly added them to the other ways contact with their constituents. This report by Presentation Testing, Inc., provides a look at the state of House communications strategies, ranging from the technologically advanced to the traditional. It is the fruit of over 30 hours of interviews with more than three-dozen Congressional staff members and a national survey of registered voters.
Summary of Findings | Full Text (PDF)

The Facebook Effect: How Congress is Using Social Networks to Strengthen Ties to Constituents:
The social networking site Facebook has grown from an Internet hangout for students at a few top-tier colleges to an online home for people around the world. Today, Members of Congress have adopted this technology to spread their message directly to their constituents and strongest supporters. This report examines what Members of Congress are doing on Facebook, why constituents follow their elected officials, and how they would like Members to use the website. Rich Thau, president of Presentation Testing, Inc., conducted a national survey, focus groups of constituents, and interviewed Congressional staff members to provide the data for the findings.
Summary of Findings | Full Text (PDF)

Tele-Town Hall Study:
In October 2007, The Congressional Institute, in conjunction with Presentation Testing, Inc., released the first-ever report on the transformative effects that Tele-Town Hall meetings have on Members’ relationships with their districts. The study surveyed 867 registered voters and conducted focus groups in California, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Among other key findings, the report confirmed the correlation between satisfied constituents and consistent contact with their Member.
Summary of Findings | Full Text (PDF)

Congressional Websites and Newsletters Study:
Cutting edge research by Presentation Testing, Inc., commissioned by the Congressional Institute, shows that improved websites and newsletters increase Members’ favorability ratings in their districts. The recommendations in the Congressional Websites and Newsletters Report are based on the opinions of constituents and experts. The results were then taken back out to the citizens, and the recommendations were verified and refined.
Summary of Findings | Full Text (PDF)

America: The Next Decade:
In January 2005, the Congressional Institute commissioned The Winston Group to conduct a survey of 1,000 registered voters to determine the issues Americans believe will be important five to ten years from now. Rather than simply testing a list of congressional priorities prevalent in similar research, the Winston Group survey compared issue lists againsta list of outcomes / solutions.
Summary of Findings | FullText (PDF)

Exploring Policy Challenges: 5-10 Years:
In the fall of 2004, the Congressional Institute contracted with the Charlton Research Company to conduct 10 focus groups of “Informed Americans in Phoenix, Arizona; Atlanta, Georgia; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Alexandria, VA; and San Francisco, CA. The purpose of this study was to explore attitudes towards what informed Americans believe to the most significant challenges facing the world over the next 5-10 years.
Summary of Findings | Full Text (PDF)

National Issues Survey:
On behalf of the Congressional Institute, the Charlton Research Company conducted a National Issues Survey in January 2001 to determine which issues were of greatest concern to Americans. The terrorism attacks of 9/11 probably modified the priorities defined in this study.
See the results of our National Issues Survey 

Health Care Reform Surveys:
In 1998, the Congressional Institute commissioned Charlton Research Company to conduct separate surveys, based on the Public Judgment model, of how Americans: (1) feel about their health-care coverage and concerns about health care in the future; and (2) rate their attitudes toward several health-care policy alternatives specifically dealing with patient protection. As health care returns to the forefront of national debate, these studies constitute a useful benchmark or reference point on health matters.
See the results of our studies on Health Care Reform

National Vision Foundation Study:
In the spring of 1997, the Congressional Institute and the National Vision Foundation commissioned the Charlton Research Company to conduct a survey to discover whether the public thinks the U.S. has a national vision towards which both citizens and leaders are working, and if so, what that vision is and how the country’s most pressing issues fit into it. The core values of a nation evolve slowly; although this research is older it reflects the primary values and concerns that drive decision-making within the American public.
See the results of our study on a National Vision 

Americans Talk about Taxes:
On behalf of the Congressional Institute, the Charlton Research Company conducted a national survey in March 1996 to identify the values, attitudes and opinions Americans hold with respect to taxes. With comprehensive tax reform on the Congressional agenda again, the debate over taxes is coming back into focus. This survey goes beyond public opinion over a particular tax proposal – it exposes the core values at work in the American public’s mind when dealing with taxes.
See the results of our study entitled “Americans Talk about Taxes” 

Environmental Values Survey:
In 1996, the Congressional Institute commissioned the Charlton Research Company to conduct a comprehensive research study to determine, based on public opinion, whether environmentalism is moving into a new phase and whether the public’s vision toward the environment is changing. This study reveals how environmental issues interact with other values held by Americans and shows the different ways that these issues are perceived and judged.
See the results of our study on Environmental Values 



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