The Disaster That is 21st Century Polling

It happened again. This time in Kentucky. Democratic frontrunner Jack Conway, was in all but one poll, considered to have a slight lead over his Republican opponent Matt Bevin. However Bevin, the Republican won convincingly on election day 53% 44%. The polling community had excuses at the ready about how and why they missed so badly.

There have been other highprofile polling failures the last couple of election cycles, as well as this recent example in Kentucky. Part of the problem is that polling can’t seem to keep up with changes in technology. Pollsters are still dependent on the “home telephone.” As much of the electorate has moved away from landlines– so has the the scientific dependability of polling.

So, should you never spend another nickel on polling? No, polling can still be valuable but smart pollsters are using other tools to augment the results they get from “landline voters.” Sentiment Monitoring (SM) is the key tool pollsters and digital marketers are using to get a better read on today’s electorate.

Using blog posts, social media posts, comments to news articles and other online sources, SM provides unaided and almost instantaneous feedback on an election or candidate in that election. Polling simply can’t do that. Pollsters spend most of their time interviewing the portion of the electorate that still has a landline. That’s tends to be suburban or rural voters age 65+. Polling tends to ignore the large portion of the electorate that only uses a cell phone, uses Google Voice or Skype for voice calls or interacts on social media. Those are the folks that can be reached by SM but are ignored by polling.

At Advocacy.Marketing we can work with pollsters to better model the potential voting pool. Rather than poll only those senior citizens with a landline, we can expand the reach of polling and analysis of the campaign across all segments of the electorate. We can tell you overnight if a mailer was well-received, if a hit-piece worked or if a TV commercial had an impact. Yes, polling can do that too– only 3 weeks after.

Advocacy.Marketing would love to give you a detailed overview of sentiment monitoring and how it can aid and augment polling. Don’t approach election day thinking your candidate is 5-points
up… when he/she is actually losing the election. Contact Joe Camicia: Joe@Advocacy.Marketing