The perils of polling for all to see

The perils of polling for all to see

iModerate Author

Jul 09, 2014

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By now we’ve all become intimately familiar with the latest polling gaffe from June – a projected 34 percent lead for Eric Cantor 12 days before the election ending in an 11 point loss. Cantor’s pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, have felt the wrath from journalists and pundits on both sides of the fence. Their efforts have even been characterized as “quantitative malpractice”.

Shortly after the primary, the call came from many for a more comprehensive approach. And, in our experience in the world of online political  advertising testing we agree that getting qualitative feedback with verified voters is crucial.

As we headed into the July 4th holiday weekend a piece in the New York Times, by Lynn Vavreck, brought another issue to light in the world of political research. In the face of polling’s rampant defamation in the media, Vavreck stood by its utility, but pointed out one simple yet deadly flaw – “if you ask the wrong group of people your poll questions, you can get the wrong answers.”

In our world of political ad testing, we see the same issue. And, as Vavreck points out, it’s even more difficult to nail the audience in primary and mid-term elections as there simply isn’t the mass of voters created by a presidential election. It’s a needle in a haystack anyway, and the problem is compounded given the fact that what people say and their true vote history and intentions often don’t align.

That’s why on the heels of Voter Insider, iModerate’s Pollie winning solution which blends a proven method of respondent validation with our online data collection services, we developed Voter Express to help progressive organizations and pollsters better test their advertising.

The recently launched solution allows us to find and verify a target audience and have individual conversations with them online over a 72-hour period. The goal being to serve up the right people, get deeper into their motivations, reasoning, and perceptions, and provide a better understanding.

Check out this overview of Voter Express and an example of the depth the qualitative provides from the Colorado amendment research we conducted with RBI Strategies.


iModerate Author

Our research work with iModerate over the past several years has developed into a true partnership. Their unique fusion of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies in a single study has offered new insights into key topics and markets of interest for our organization, which in turn, we are able to quickly turn into action steps. They are flexible, responsive, and extremely engaged in the entire project process, from conception and design to final data processing and delivery. They have even gone above and beyond by volunteering their time, resources, and expertise to assist with a special target market project on women. iModerate has their finger on the pulse of the research industry and consistently provides creative suggestions and solutions to enhance our current work. This ultimately allows us to provide our leadership with the strategic insights and opportunities that helps us to advance the common good.

Kristin Thomsen, Manager, Market Research, United Way Worldwide