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How Postal Poll Was Conducted

January 23, 1999

The Associated Press poll on postal service is based on telephone interviews with 1,015 randomly selected adults from all states except Alaska and Hawaii. The interviewing was conducted Jan. 13-17 by ICR, of Media, Pa. The results were weighted to represent the population by key demographic factors such as age, sex, region and education.

No more than one time in 20 should chance variations in the sample cause the results to vary by more than 3 percentage points from the answers that would be obtained if all Americans were polled.

This margin of sampling error is larger for responses of subgroups, such as income categories. There are other sources of potential error in polls, including the wording and order of questions.

The AP poll questions (because of rounding, sums may not total 100 percent):

1. Overall, do you think the United States Postal Service is doing an excellent job, a fair job, or a poor job?

Excellent _ 22 percent; good _ 50 percent; fair _ 21 percent; poor _ 7 percent.

2. Compared to five years ago, do you think the level of service provided by the post office is better than it was, worse than it was or has it stayed about the same?

Better _ 29 percent; worse _ 9 percent; about the same _ 60 percent; don’t know _ 2 percent.

3. As you may know, the U.S. Postal Service just raised the cost of mailing a one-ounce letter by a penny. Do you think the cost of a stamp is a bargain, is it too expensive or is the cost about right?

Bargain _ 14 percent; too expensive _ 32 percent; about right _ 51 percent; don’t know _ 3 percent.

4. When you are sending a package, do you usually use the post office or do you use another service such as Federal Express or UPS?

Use post office _ 65 percent; use another service _ 32 percent; don’t know/refused _ 3 percent.

5. Which one item is your biggest concern about the postal service?

Speed of mail delivery _ 37 percent; cost of stamps _ 10 percent; counter service _ 11 percent; no concerns about post office _ 39 percent; don’t know/refused 3 percent.

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