Is This The Answer to Failed Political Polling?

WASHINGTON - Feb. 15, 2024 - PRLog --    Dale Paulson Ph.D.

703-772-5263    February 15, 2024


It is no exaggeration to say that polling and survey research are inexact. Most recently, polls said it was too close to call who would win the Special Election for Congress in New York's Long Island area. The results of the election show that it was not close and the Democrat candidate won easily. Recall that the Brits were going to reject Brexit by twenty percentage points. And if you want to go way back, you can refer to a picture of Harry Truman holding a newspaper headline saying "Dewey Defeats Truman."

Dale Paulson, Ph.D. President of Allegiance Research located in Alexandria, Virginia, suggests that polling and surveys need to be more predictive and recommends a way to do this. He has designed an improved way to ask questions and to reveal both preference and intensity.

The key is to match the skills of the respondent to the research instrument. What do all respondents have in common? They are all consumers and therefore they are familiar with comparison shopping. The brain is a calculator, constantly figuring if this food item or clothing or car is worth the price.

Look at voters as consumers and put their brains to work. Dr. Paulson does this by giving them 100 points to spend and asks them to spend the points to show what they like the most or what they consider the most important. For example, you can list four mayoral candidates and the voter may spend 80 points on Joan Vargas, 20 points on Mike Smith, and no points on the other two candidates. This is better than simple questions because it reveals both preference and intensity. In this example, you see that the voter likes Ms. Vargas four times more than Mr. Smith.

This design works very well in a variety of settings. Allegiance Research has used it to help boards make decisions when they were gridlocked, help associations see what programs are most important to members, reveal what issues are most relevant to voters, and assess the likelihood to vote. This is an excellent tool that helps respondents express themselves in a more sophisticated and efficient way.

Allegiance Research specializes in innovative research methods and has a long track record of designing surveys for large organizations. It can translate almost any type of survey question into a fixed-sum preference format (where respondents spend 100 points). Who knows? Maybe the UK would still be in the European Union if they had used this method to understand Brexit.

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