The Rutgers-Eagleton/SSRS

Garden State Panel


The Rutgers-Eagleton/SSRS Garden State Panel is the largest probability-based opinion sharing platform in New Jersey. It is comprised of a representative group of panelists randomly selected throughout New Jersey who have agreed to share their opinions through surveys.

The panel was established in 2023 as a joint research venture between The Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers-New Brunswick (ECPIP) and SSRS. Both organizations are members of the AAPOR (American Association for Public Opinion Research) Transparency Initiative and committed to full compliance of AAPOR standards and transparency.



The Rutgers-Eagleton/SSRS Garden State Panel is a probability-based panel of New Jersey adults aged 18 or older. Members are recruited randomly based on statewide representative ABS (Address Based Sample) design. ABS sample is drawn from the Delivery Sequence File (DSF) maintained by the U.S. Postal Service. Population coverage of the DSF is in the 98%-99% range.

During the recruitment process, demographic information on panelists is collected. This data is stored securely and used to determine eligibility for specific studies (if needed). We also rely on these data to improve the survey experience for panelists by avoiding the need to re-ask some demographic questions with each survey.


How are Garden State Panel surveys conducted?

The Rutgers-Eagleton/SSRS Garden State Panel is a multi-mode panel (web and phone). Most panelists take self-administered web surveys; however, the option to take surveys conducted by a live telephone interviewer is available to those who prefer to complete surveys by phone and/or who do not use the Internet.  Panelists also have the option of taking surveys in their preferred language (English or Spanish). We translate and conduct surveys in Spanish as required by specific projects.

Samples are drawn among panel members to best meet the study criteria. Selected panelists are sent an email invitation to participate in the survey, including unique survey link. The link allows the respondent to complete the self-administered online survey. Our contact protocol also includes a text message survey reminder for panelists that have consented to receiving them. All telephone interviews are conducted live using a CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) system. Interviewers ask to speak with the person at that number by name who is a member of the Garden State Panel.

SSRS web surveys comply with industry best practices. They are optimized for smartphone/mobile device administration and are adapted to modern operating systems and browsers.


How is the Garden State Panel an improvement over opt-in panels?

The Rutgers-Eagleton/SSRS Garden State Panel is a fully probability-based panel because it recruits randomly selected panelists from a probability-based sample source that reflects the New Jersey adult population (ABS). Results obtained from this panel can statistically represent the target population with a known margin of error.

Unlike typical opt-in panels, no one can “volunteer” to be part of the Garden State Panel. They must be selected randomly and invited to participate. By employing rigorous sampling methods, we not only reduce the risk of selection bias but also minimize susceptibility to “bots” or fraudulent panelists. This additional layer of security enhances the reliability of our survey results, providing accurate insights into New Jersey’s diverse populations.


Our Services

Our highly experienced panel team stands ready to support both data collection and client analytic needs. We work closely with clients from the early project planning stages to developing and delivering effective customized solutions. Specific services include:

  • Questionnaire design consultation that meets industry best practices
  • Survey programming and hosting
  • Data collection
  • Methodological consultation
  • Highly collaborative team that works closely in meeting client schedules
  • Statistical weighting
  • Data analysis and reporting

We also work with clients on the design and implementation of subpopulation-specific surveys that leverage panelist profile data, such as for surveys of Hispanics, people with specific health insurance statuses, parents, and registered voters.


Our Weighting

Rutgers-Eagleton/SSRS Garden State Panel data is weighted to be representative of the entire residential adult population in New Jersey. The first step in the weighting process is the application of a base weight that accounts for the ABS sample design and the within-household sampling of one adult. Following the base weight, the panel is calibrated to correct for differential participation among demographics such as age, race, sex, region, and education.

Benchmark distributions are obtained from the most recently available data from sources such as the Current Population Survey (CPS). Additionally, online panelists are known to be more civically engaged than the general population. To correct this potential bias, we include volunteerism and interaction with neighbors in panel calibration. These benchmark distributions are derived from the Civic Engagement and Volunteer Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

Our team also stands ready to design custom weighting schemes to fit your survey’s needs.


Standard Deliverables

Rutgers-Eagleton/SSRS Garden State Panel standard deliverables include a final weighted dataset (in SPSS or other format) and an AAPOR compliant methods statement with response rate calculations.

Both SSRS and the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling are full-service non-partisan public opinion firms. In addition to standard deliverables, our deliverables and other offered services are fully customizable to client needs. This includes crosstabs, toplines, analytical reporting, and more.



A battery of demographics and other questions is asked during the recruitment of panelists. These questions are stored securely and kept for identifying target respondents and used for weighting. Standard Profile Variables are appended to study data to expand what is known about respondents at no extra cost. Additional Custom Profile Variables are also available for an added cost. These demographics are typically not re-asked for every survey unless there is reason to believe that the data could have changed in a meaningful way.

Furthermore, clients may opt to include our standard demographics module at the end of their survey at no extra cost. This module contains a battery of standardized demographic questions we use to update our panel profile data. Data for these Standard Survey Variables may be used in weighting and are also appended to final survey data.

Summary of Garden State Panel Demographic Variables

Standard Profile Variables* Standard Survey Variables** Custom Profile Variables***
Age Voter Registration Status Military Status
Gender Party ID / Lean Health Insurance Status
Education Political Ideology Health Insurance Type
Race/Ethnicity Religion Smoking Habits
Nativity Children in HH Vaping Habits
Marital Status Children Age Vaccination Status
Employment Status Parental Status Landline/Cell Phone Use
Adults in HH HH Income
County Home Ownership
Zip Code Public Transportation Use
Sexual Orientation
Transgender Identification
Gun Ownership and Access
Frequency of Internet Use
Civic Engagement (Volunteerism / Interaction with neighbors)
2020 Recalled Vote (Presidential)
2021 Recalled Vote (Governor)    


*Included in final data at no extra cost.

**Included in final data at no extra cost for clients who opt to use our standardized demographics module.

***Available at an additional cost.


To find out more about the panel and how it may help your research needs, email us at