Students walk over Stockton's seal in Galloway Township.

Michael Ein, file photo Sept. 12, 2011

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Richard Stockton College has formed its own Polling Institute that will begin operating in September.

President Herman J. Saatkamp announced the formation of the institute Friday. Stockton students and staff will conduct survey research on elections and other issues relevant to New Jersey and the region. Members of the public may be hired as part-time survey interviewers in the future.

Saatkamp said the institute will both provide jobs for Stockton students and more opportunities for survey research for college faculty, staff and local businesses.

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The Polling Institute will be run by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at the college. A center with 24 calling stations will be located in the N-Wing at the college. Daniel Douglas, director of the Hughes Center, said students could work on polling as part of a class project, as a work-study job or just as a part-time job. The salary will be between $7 and $8 per hour and phone surveys would typically be done between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the evenings when most people are home, though efforts will also be made to survey through cellphones to reach a more diverse population.

Stockton has been doing polling since 2005 through a contract with Zogby International. The college currently has a $205,000 contract with Zogby for polling on such issues as politics, elections and tourism. Douglas said the college would be transitioning away from using Zogby, though the company may be retained for some consulting work.

The partnership with Zogby began as a way for the college to do specialized South Jersey polling and give the college more statewide and national exposure through the Stockton/Zogby polls. The first poll in 2005 cost $35,000 and focused on state residents’ perceptions of Atlantic City and gaming.

Saatkamp said in 2005 that his goal was to develop in-house polling at Stockton to bring students into the process as a learning experience.

The first polls planned by the new Polling Institute will pertain to the fall elections, including the 3rd Congressional District race between incumbent Republican Jon Runyan and Democratic challenger Shelly Adler, widow of the late U.S. Rep. John Adler, who lost to Runyan in 2010. The institute will also do polling for the college’s Lloyd D. Levenson Institute for Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism.

Douglas said that starting in January, the institute may also begin contracting small private polls for area businesses.

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