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Category: Media

Top Three Research Lessons From Election Season Polling

With the Canadian Federal Election taking place on October 21st and the US Presidential election slated for 2020, it’s a perfect time for us researchers to reflect upon sampling, declining response rates, margins of error, and questionnaire wording for federal election polling surveys.

Those of you who are not researchers or analysts have probably been wondering, how truly representative are election polls, and can they still lend credibility to predicted election results in a world of declining response rates?

Looking back on previous elections and their results, it’s clear that there are important takeaways and learnings from how election polls are conducted.  These takeaways not only ensure that future election work is as representative as possible, but they also lend themselves to takeaways that can be transposed to other research projects.

ballot choice

  1. Ask the right questions to the right audience.

Political polling highlights the importance of asking the right questions. The wording of both the questions and answers will affect the outcome in different ways. For example, here are some considerations:

  • Should you ask respondents for whom they will most likely vote for when the election takes place? Or who they would vote for if the election was held tomorrow?
    • Should your question use the first names of the candidates, as they will appear on the ballots, and/or should you refer to each candidate’s party affiliation?
    • Who are the intended respondents? (All registered voters? All adults of voting age? Anyone intending to vote? Only registered voters who voted in the past election?)

To answer any of these questions, you need to have some clear goals and objectives of why you are conducting the research. There are many types of political polls, and multiple reasons for conducting them. Trying to measure consumer or voter attitudes is different than trying to predict behaviour, which in turn is different from trying to forecast voter turnout.

phone interview

  1. First know the why, then determine which method will get you there.
    Most political polls are subjected to a huge amount of methodological analysis and critique. Was the poll conducted online or by phone? Did the pollster use live interviewers or automated dialing with interactive voice recordings? Was the sample selected through random digit dial (RDD) or targeted listings?

    Questions like these offer insights into the most important methodological challenges facing the research industry in a time of rapid technological and social change. It reminds everyone that the method is so important. The challenges are not just about qualitative versus quantitative or surveys versus focus groups, but also about design, fieldwork, respondent recruitment, data collection, statistical analysis, and interpretation.

people in rally

  1. Think about the story rather than the numbers.
    Search online for “elections results” and you’ll find a multitude of different polls released on a weekly basis. Most of the results are in alignment with each other, but a handful are notable in their approach because they make the story just as important as the outcomes.

    In those cases, the content is relevant, interest is high, and the stakes are made to feel huge. The story is moving, and it feels like you are one of those individuals they were reporting on. While every poll has the support from PR, marketing, and communication campaigns, it is always nice to see those select few polls that report on things, or from angles, that nobody else has explored yet.

    Conclusion

    When it comes to political polling, the aims and goals are so important that you need to know your approach before you even begin to start thinking about the method and the potential questions. However, once you have your direction, it becomes critical to do more than show the numbers—you must also show the story behind those numbers to make your content relevant and interesting… and to really resonate with your audience.


About Jake

Jake-Pryszlak_avatar_1546770824-400x400 Jake Pryszlak, commonly known as the Research Geek, is a 3-time award-winning market researcher, blogger and speaker. He’s a current Forbes columnist who is active across a plethora of social media channels. His aim is to share his market research knowledge with others in the industry. You can find his blog and social media channels here.

Personalize Your Marketing Campaigns With Voter Profiling

If you use a service like Netflix or Amazon Prime, have you ever questioned its ability to know you well enough to offer up a film or show that you would be interested in watching? It’s something I’ve wondered about—this capability of presenting me with the right thing at the right time. (It often seems particularly prescient whenever I think of unsubscribing, and hooks me for yet another month.)

Speaking of Netflix, if you’ve ever seen an episode of Sherlock, you’ll be familiar with how Mr. Holmes frequently uses cues from people’s appearances to find out more details about their lives. Often, it is creepy how his observations are precisely accurate, as he catches people off guard.  Sherlock_Holmes_in_The_Five_Orange_Pips

Obviously, not everyone is a world-famous detective like Holmes or has the predictive algorithms of Netflix behind them, but there are other ways to understand more about people by looking at their attributes and behaviour. For many years, market research departments have worked on profiling customers and audiences using different segmentation algorithms. Similar techniques are at play when it comes to forecasting the behaviour of voters. Using voter profiling, organizations can accurately predict the wants, needs, and actions of people. This is one of the reasons why there is no one-size-fits-all campaign ad anymore. Based on voters’ behaviour and attitudes toward a range of different worldwide issues and interests, messages can be framed or tailored for specific types of voters.

The Obama, Trump, and Brexit campaigns were all heavily backed by voter data analysis. The team behind the current U.S. president employed voter profiling in 17 states, analyzing the online behaviour of an extraordinary amount of individuals, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram “likes” as well as smartphone data to segment the public into a number of groups. Imagine looking at the population of 17 states and quickly knowing who liked a specific type of car so you could then send them a personalized message focused on their behaviour and attitudes.

I also think Facebook and other social media platforms lend themselves to “micro-moments.” These are small instances in someone’s journey where they react to something. By liking a page or a comment on Facebook, searching for a particular topic, or purchasing something via an online platform, these moments in time can actually guide a voter’s journey toward a particular candidate. When a member of the public notices an advertisement addressing a local issue or something that resonates with them, this interaction with a candidate becomes the perfect micro-moment.

Using Voter Profiling to Create Marketing Campaigns

Using voter profiling data can help marketing departments and agencies understand when and how micro-moments happen, assisting them in being able to predict when one will occur in the future. In most political campaigns, playing the tactical game is the key to gaining an advantage. You can’t win the majority by focusing efforts across every city and state. By using voter profiling in specified states, you can actually target those undecided voters. (On the other hand, those undecided voters may actually be strong supporters of a particular candidate but are not willing to show their hand.)

Imagine if you could look at voter profile data in real-time, and even examine previous election voting results, to understand how an advertisement performed or created a buzz. This is why I feel voter profiling will actually help from not only this political sense, but also brand perspective. Marketers will be able to harness this data ecosystem to target and predict behaviour in relation to their brand and products.

About the Logit Group

The Logit Group is a leader among data collection firms, and our ongoing commitment has been to develop and administer industry-best technologies as the basis of our research execution. We offer online and offline services including; Global Panel SourcingB2C Phone ResearchMall InterceptsIn-depth interview (IDI) recruitmentFocus group recruitmentcustomized reporting, and more.

For a full list of our services, please visit our website here and to submit a bid request, please see our Bid Request form.

About Jake

Jake-Pryszlak_avatar_1546770824-400x400 Jake Pryslak, commonly known as the Research Geek, is a 3-time award-winning market researcher, blogger and speaker. He’s a current Forbes columnist who is active across a plethora of social media channels. His aim is to share his market research knowledge with others in the industry. You can find his blog and social media channels here.