It’s nearly Election Day, but what does that mean? In short, it means a lot of political ads on television, a lot of flyers stuffed in your mailbox and – finally –a lot of phone calls for polling purposes. Since the federal do-not-call registry exempts political calls from the rules against calling a name on the list, even households that no longer get many calls will find themselves picking up the phone to good ole’ political survey takers.
There are two kinds of political surveys, as anyone with a phone knows; the live surveys, in which workers ask registered voters a series of questions, and then “robocalls,” in which a computer, working together with an interactive voice response (IVR) solution, asks the caller to press or say numbers in response to those questions.
What political pollsters want to know, however, is what the differences are in responses as well as response rates between the two types of calls.
In light of this, a recent article by Nate Cohn writing for The New Republic came up with some fascinating results. The article, which explores the differences between live interview and automated IVR polls, covered research comparing two months’ worth of presidential polling results to ascertain whether different types of polls would yield the same or similar results.
According to the article, “over the last two months, there has been a clear gap between live interview and automated (IVR) pollsters. Obama seems to have a big lead in live polling, but the robots find a closer race.”
Image via Shutterstock
IVR solutions provider PlumVoice recently explored the reasons behind this discrepancy in a blog post. First, it noted that far more automated calls were placed than live calls, because calls via IVR are simply cheaper.
“There are several factors that are potentially contributing to these varying results. First, a majority of the polls being analyzed for this study are being conducted in battleground states (Virginia, Ohio, Florida) and a majority of these polls were conducted via an IVR system,” Plum explained. “These automated polls work in tandem with auto dialers to solicit the opinions of a random sample of voters in these states and account for the bulk of reported statistics.”
Automated calls, however, may not be placed to cell phones. When calling registered voters on wireless phones, pollsters must use the live survey process. This reaches an entirely different pool of voters than the robo-calls: people who have no landline phones and use cell phones only, which may very well encompass a large majority of the nation as we know it, as 90 percent of Americans own a standard cell phone (at the most basic). These people are disproportionately young and tend to support President Obama more strongly.
While IVR-based polling isn’t going anywhere, strategists, researchers and pollsters will need to take these considerations into account in the future when considering political polling.
In related news, Plum Voice revealed its new and exclusive program for pollsters which enables them to make data collection faster, easier and more accurate than ever before. Included in this special offer is free access to its Web, facebook, phone and twitter survey creation platform for pollsters who sign up for an IVR or SMS account. Further, those who use Plum’s IVR survey tool can create and deploy surveys over the Web, mobile devices and social media free of cost, needing to only pay for phone and SMS. Click here to learn more about this special offer.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Austin 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo