During a presidential election year there is no escaping the flurry of public opinion polling and the intense scrutiny that surveys get from the media. But love it or hate it, there are excellent reasons to pay close attention to this year’s political polling.
Pollsters are grappling with the thorniest issues measuring peoples’ attitudes and behaviors amidst the most rapid change in technology and communications that we’ve seen in the last thirty years. They face the same issues that all market research professionals struggle with day in and day out, under the glare of spotlights, expert criticism, and final validation come Election Day.
As always, when your next research project comes along, please do not hesitate to give us a call for our thoughts and a proposal. We will do you our very best to earn your vote and your confidence.
“Even if you are not involved in political polling, it is worth paying attention to the methods and best practices of political pollsters. One reason is that few other areas of research offer a way to completely validate one’s methods. Pollsters are using sampling and survey methods to predict the behaviors of a much larger population. Then in just one day that population behaves, we get a near-perfect count of exactly how they behaved, and we know whether the methods worked.”
Our industry is often obsessed with margins of error, but the margins we calculate account for only one source of potential survey error.To analyze data, you need variation. So before deleting “useless” data, consider whether it provides comparative leverage for deeper statistical analysis.It may sound surprising, but sometimes a predictive model that offers 0% accuracy is better than a model with 50% accuracy. Dilbert illustrates with a coin toss.