COFFEE BREAK – Political Polls: How do they work?

Our Coffee Break with Leger video clip series is designed to provide a brief overview of answers to key questions in the market research world. If you would like further information about the research services we provide, click the “Contact Us” button at the bottom of this page to get in touch with our team.

There are two different types of political polls. The first is those which are contracted by a political party who is trying to understand how local constituents or Canadians feel about a variety of issues. The other (which is more often what you will see published), is work related to, or work with a media group. In this case, questions and information needs are shared between the media and who is responsible for doing the poll (with respect to what we think is newsworthy and what Canadians would like to hear about).

When doing political polling, it’s very important to be transparent. You, as the consumer, should be able to see:

  • The questions asked
  • How the survey was conducted
  • When the survey was conducted
  • Who is participating in the research (e.g. if there is a third party buying into it)

If all pollsters conducted their research this way and were transparent in this manner, the industry would be better off.

Dave Scholz is an Executive Vice President and Partner at Leger.  He is an expert in communication research with specific interests in reputation and social media.  Dave also teaches at McMaster University and Humber College in their Communications programs.  He also serves as a Board Trustee for the Institute of Public Relations and a Board member for the CPRS Toronto Chapter.

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