How to Conduct Election Poll Surveys

by Contributor

Polls are an important way to gauge how an election will turn out before votes are counted. Done correctly, polls provide an accurate representation of the way people are voting. There are a few general guidelines to follow to ensure accuracy when you conduct election poll surveys.

Learn to Conduct Election Poll Surveys

Decide on the form of media that will reach the biggest and most diverse audience. If you have connections to a newspaper, television station or radio show, then you may be able to persuade them to carry your poll idea. If you have a website or blog with significant traffic, consider placing the poll on your site.

Tailor your poll question to the current political atmosphere. For example, you don't want to ask how voters will vote in the general election if the primary elections haven't happened yet. Also consider restricting your poll to one political party.

Keep your poll open for a short amount of time and let your audience know how long it'll be open. A day is usually a long enough time for news media-based polls, but if you're polling through the mail or telephone, you may want up to a week to ensure a sizable polling base.

Close the polls and tally up the results. You should take steps to report the results to the people you polled, although this may not be possible in the case of a telephone poll.

Analyze your respondents to determine if your poll is project-able. If you made efforts to represent all the demographics in the area of your poll, you may be able to say that the results would stay the same if the poll included every person in that area.

Start planning your next poll. If you want to build credibility for your election poll surveys, you'll need to continue to poll the population as the election cycle moves forward. Change your polling questions to reflect how the political landscape develops.

Tips

  • There are telephone-polling companies that can help you reach a sizable number of people in an area, although these companies may charge high fees.
  • Some Internet polling software can allow blocking of an IP address after it votes. This method is a safeguard against repeat voting that can skew your results.

Warning

  • If you want to conduct an exit poll, be sure to ask the state's Election Commission about any restrictions on approaching people after they have voted.

Photo Credits

  • red telephone box detail image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com