OBJECTIVE DATASeeSUBJECTIVE DATA.
OMNIBUS POLL Several short polls integrated into one questionnaire. An omnibus poll is a sort of anthology--a collection of small surveys tied together by a common theme or purpose. Omnibus polls are fielded by research concerns or academic institutions, which sell question space to individual "subscribing" clients ( Worcester, 1972:202-205). A distinguishing characteristic of omnibus polls is their periodicity: they run regularly on a monthly, quarterly, semiannual, or annual basis. Widely known omnibus polls in the U.S. include the Minnesota State Survey and the University of Alabama Capstone Poll. Typical of these, the Penn State at Harrisburg "policy omnibus" is quarterly, has about fifty questions and about ten subscribers--mostly agencies of state government, state think tanks and public interest groups.
The appeal of omnibus surveys is their relatively low cost. Subscribers realize substantial savings over what their series of questions would cost in an independent poll. Efficiency is also an advantage. The typical omnibus can be produced quickly because time-consuming sampling, fieldwork, and data analysis are organized in advance ( Marsh, 1982:222). Still other advantages are quality and consistency: since the omnibus is run periodically, most design glitches have been worked out.
Omnibus polls do have some tradeoffs. One is the limit on the number of questions a subscriber may sponsor (often measured in interviewing time). Also limited are the complexity and scope of the questions. Respondents encounter