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What do you mean by polls?

Polls Definition: Polls can be defined as a survey or a type of inquiry conducted in a scientific and unbiased manner to read the public opinion concerning a certain issue or a series of issues. In a traditional method, interviewer, or the pollster would ask a question or series of questions to a group of randomly selected people representing a certain population. Responses from participants were collected and interpretation was made manually using different data analysis techniques and statistical formulas. The modern polling technique is much easier and more accurate (about a 3% margin of error); hence widely accepted and used to conduct polls.

Example: ‘Election polls’ by far is the best example of polls. However, different organizations do utilize polls to acquire quick feedback from their followers, like for naming a new product, to understand which logo design makes an impact, to understand how people of a specific locality commute daily to work, etc. Accordingly, a poll was conducted by Research America in the USA to understand the number of people considering child abuse and neglect as a public health problem. Two questions used in that poll are

Do you consider child abuse and neglect is a public health problem in the US?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Can't say

Do you agree or disagree with the fact that child abuse and neglect is a worrisome problem in your locality?

  1. Strongly agree
  2. Somewhat agree
  3. Somewhat disagree
  4. Strongly disagree
  5. Can’t say

From the '80s until recently, telephonic calls was the preferred and only medium to conduct polls. Most national polling organizations would ask questions to random Americans across the country to note down their responses related to a pressing issue. Then came the internet. Although it took some time for pollsters to become used to and master the idea of online polls, they were the ones to understand and try different online poll maker platforms for their benefit. The fact that the majority of polls today are conducted online is no more a secret to avid poll participants.

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Types of Polls

Whoever wants to create a poll, has to create either a single question or a set of poll questions that are then used to determine or predict what people believe, how they feel about something, and/or in what way will they act. Sensing the growing need of a holistic poll maker, many online survey tool vendors, as well as new enterprises, started offering an online platform to create a free poll. It is effortless, easy, and efficient to create a poll using these tools. However, before you create your own poll, here are the nine major types of polls you must know.

  • Opinion Poll:

    The opinion polls is conducted conducted to collect opinions from a specific set of a sample. The motive behind conducting an opinion poll is to gather the opinion of a certain population by asking them a series of questions related to an issue or a subject and then inferring general responses in ratio or within confidence intervals.


    Example: The United States Presidential elections 2020 are fast approaching and yet Democrats haven’t announced their candidate against President Donald Trump representing the Republican party. This might be the reason, an array of opinion polls are being conducted in the USA to gauge the strength of Trump against various democrat office bearers like Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, etc. The results suggest that Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren both are promising candidates against Donald Trump in the coming election.
Know more about: 'Opinion Polls'
  • Benchmark Poll:

    A benchmark poll is probably the first poll conducted even before the start of a campaign. Often, a benchmark poll is conducted even before the candidate announces his/her nomination for the office. Nevertheless, in rare instances, it is conducted after the announcement with a parallel motive of raising funds. To create a poll a proper benchmark to compare performance is created and is generally done before the start of the campaign. The results of the benchmark poll help in analyzing where the contestant stands compared to its competitors.


    Example: Joe Biden is in the process of strongly claiming presidential election nomination representing Democrats. Joe and his supporters are constantly in the process of creating a poll (benchmark poll) that will push his image as the strongest candidate and a lead runner in the race for the Democratic nomination. On the contrary, a benchmark poll run by Fox News predicts that 39 percent of voters think Trump will win again and 52 percent find it hard.
  • Bushfire Poll:

    Bushfire polls lie between benchmark and tracking polls and can be taken multiple times depending on the need and motive. The stiffness in competition and expenses on the campaign required to enhance the image, reputation, awareness of the brand determine the number of bushfire campaigns conducted. These polls are created with a focus on voters and are often lengthy covering varied questions on pressing issues.


    Example: With less than a year to go for 2020 elections, President Donald Trump faces an uphill climb to win the presidency again. Almost all the bushfire polls conducted during his regime show high disapproval. One of the pollsters conducted a poll in January 2016 wherein 52 percent disapprove of his performance and 49 percent strongly disapprove and 49 percent said they will definitely vote for someone else.
  • Tracking Poll:

    A poll conducted at fixed intervals either with the same set of questions or with fresh questions averaging over a trailing period. Suppose a tracking poll is conducted on a weekly basis, then for each fresh poll, the data from the previous poll is used after discarding the older data.
    Example: Healthcare came out to be one of the most pressing issue voters are concerned about in a tracking poll conducted in early 2018. In mid-2018 tracking poll concluded that voters are interested to see hear candidates speaking about healthcare in the congressional campaigns. In succeeding tracking polls, the issues escalated towards foreign policy, visa policies, climate change, etc.

  • Entrance Poll:

    A poll conducted before voters casting their vote is called an entrance poll. Usually, the entrance poll is taken to understand the voter's opinion on voting and other similar electoral issues. As there is less scope of people differing from their original opinion, the margin of error in the entrance poll is very less compared to that of an opinion poll.


    Example: In the previous 2016 US Presidential election poll - an entrance poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal predicted that the 44 percent likely voters were in the mood to support Hillary Clinton, and 40 Percent voters were in favor of Donald Trump. Although the poll results predicted Hillary taking a 4 percent lead over Trump, we all know how the unbelievable happened.
  • Exit Poll:

    Contrast to entrance poll, an exit poll is taken immediately after the voter exits the polling station. These polls are conducted to gauge the winning candidate way before the votes are counted and the results are declared. However, the exit polls do carry a greater margin of error as people are reluctant to share the factual information hence chances are more people might mislead the pollsters by giving false information.


    Example: CNN published an exit poll after the 2016 voting concluded. According to the poll, 52 percent male were in favor of Trump and 54 percent of women were in favor of Hillary. Young voters in the age group of 18 to 44 were supporting Hillary and those between the age group of 45 to 65 were supporting Trump. About 57 percent white population was supporting Trump and about 74 percent black population was supporting Hillary. Even though the exit poll clearly indicated voter inclination more towards Hillary, Donald Trump overcame all the odds and became President of the United States.
Know more about: 'Exit Polls'
  • Deliberative Opinion Poll:

    A deliberative opinion poll is a unique form of polling wherein public opinion research is used in a new as well as constructive way. The deliberative opinion poll comes up with an assumptive conclusion of public opinion - if they had an opportunity to gather more knowledge and more information pertaining to the issue.


    Example: Date - March 2008, Place - San Mateo, California - a Coalition group in the county called ‘Threshold 2008’ sponsored a deliberative poll to discuss and survey the opinion of participants regarding housing shortages. For two days a weekend sample of 238 participants was considered on the basis of policy perspectives, question experts, and came up with a countywide Assembly on Housing Choices that was based on a deliberative opinion poll.
  • Push Poll:

    A push poll is considered less as a polling method and more as an interactive marketing technique. The poll is designed and created with a single motive to alter or influence the view of respondents. The goal of the push poll is to reach masses, irrespective of their will and is designed with suggestive and inclined questions ensuring each respondent is pushed to adopt an unfavorable response benefitting the pollster's candidate.


    Example: When Barrack Obama was contesting the US Presidential elections a half-hearted attempt was made to influence Jewish voters with many push polls that were created to link Barrack Obama with various anti-Israel institutions. In addition to that, a large number of push polls were created to project Obama as a Muslim candidate and his policies Pro-Muslim.
  • Straw Poll:

    A straw poll is considered as an ad-hoc or an unofficial poll conducted to understand the opinion or behavior of people related to some issue. Straw polls are often used as a medium to approximate the strength of a certain candidate in the election, to understand support he is getting from the constituency, to analyze if the campaign is going in the right direction or not.


    Example: On Feb 24, 2019, the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)’s straw poll ended at midnight. About 1500 respondents from various age groups, race, background, nationality, ethnicity, etc. (an unbiased sample) participated in the poll giving a majority to Bernie Sanders (64%) as their most favorite Presidential candidate.

How to create free polls in three simple steps

Everyone at some point would like to get their doubts cleared or their decisions backed by understanding the public sentiments. Polls are definitely one of the prominent mediums to gauge the public opinion related to a certain topic. Here is how you can create a free poll in three easy steps using an eloquent online poll maker.

Create a poll

  • Smartly choose your question and answer type, yes/no, single choice or multiple choice.
  • Write down the question ensuring it is properly phrased.
  • Prevent creating a leading or biased question forcing a particular answer.
  • Test your poll before distribution, ask your colleagues or friends to take a friendly test poll ensuring it works well.

Select participants

  • To capture unbiased results you need to target a specific set of the audience representing your poll results.
  • Based on your requirements, you can select the entire community, section of a community or a part of the community chosen randomly.
  • To obtain accurate poll results, you don’t need the entire population to take the polls. Try to acquire a random sample of the population.
  • These respondents coming from every walk of life represent the entire population in a packet giving a pretty much brief of what people think.

Conduct polls

  • With every poll, you need to send a brief introduction and description to introduce yourself and the purpose of the poll you are conducting.
  • Be as creative as possible in convincing people to take the poll.
  • Be polite and ask people to participate in the poll conveying them how their opinion matters.
  • Don't force anyone to take the poll.
  • Provide assurance to the participants that their names will be kept confidential and the results will be reported anonymously.

Why conduct public polls?

Public polls are written questions; either a single question or a series of questions designed to predict the public opinions, what they believe, what they perceive, and a way in which they react. The outcome of the polls is used in numerous ways, from naming a new product to promoting a new car and from propagating a specific TV program to understanding the pressing issues faced by certain locality.

Apart from what people’s concern, polls are now used as an informative weapon in politics. Right from the candidates contesting elections to the media houses, everyone uses polls to fulfill their own motives. Candidates might use polls to design and define the course of their election campaign and media houses might use the polls to understand who is leading where and whose chances are higher to emerge victorious. Depending on the result of polls, candidates are able to streamline their expenses. Moreover, polls help them understand the weak points in the current campaign forcing them to reshape their remaining campaign with a focus to remove those weak spots.

By conducting a poll, you actually understand a specific viewpoint public has towards the topic of your interest. Polls will never tell you or you won't be able to analyze the polls to understand how and why people think what they are thinking or what you need to do for changing the public opinion. On the contrary, a poll is just a tool, helping us measure public sentiments, what they think, believe, and feel about a given issue.

People of all kind, researchers, professional pollsters, activists, and even normal citizens regularly cite polls, especially those that are relevant to their topic of interest. However, people are too sensitive and skeptical of these polls, especially when they start feeling that the opinion is moving in the wrong direction. Sometimes pollsters adopt unethical ways to conduct polls. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze if they are asking the right questions? Are they manipulating the question content to derive the answers in their favor? Or what set of the sample they selected to conduct the polls? In addition to that, when media houses, political parties, or marketers start offering money to take polls, then for sure it raises the barometer of mistrust regarding these polls.

Do’s and Don'ts for poll creation

  1. Participants:

    The accuracy of a poll depends on the degree of characteristics or the quality of participants. Simple random sampling works sometimes for some polls; but, for an illustrative poll, targeted participants matching the ideal persona of the required respondent is a must. If a poll is conducted to predict the outcome of an election targeting 16-year-old pupil, it won't work, as these people are not eligible to vote.

    • Do’s: ‘Rule of thumb’ - greater the number of people participating, more is the accuracy level of the poll. Suppose, for election prediction a poll 100,000 voters out of two million participating in the poll will definitely increase the accuracy of results compared to a sample size of 1000 people. Nevertheless, there are some national polling organizations conducting polls with not more than 2000 sample but their electoral prediction is quite accurate.
    • Don'ts: Selecting participants with a conservative bias ensuring poll results go in favor of the pollster, candidate, or the political party is a wrong practice. Do not select sample participants from a single locality or having similar beliefs, or a sample that could influence the results. As a pollster, your motive should be to minimize or avoid the possibility of any unaccounted bias.
  2. Poll questions:

    Stay away from asking emotionally charged, biased, or unclear questions as they might mislead the participants hampering the accuracy of poll results. As far as possible avoid inclined poll questions like which candidate do you prefer, Candidate 'A' or Candidate 'B'? Or Whom do you plan to vote, Candidate 'A' or Candidate 'B'? These questions will not only heighten mistrust about the poll, but the results you achieve out of such polls will also be inaccurate.

    • Do’s: Whenever you are asking questions to arrive at a conclusion, ensure there is an acceptable number of alternatives in the answer options preventing the question from being biased. Providing only ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ options means you are forcing participants to choose only from the given options, try adding ‘can’t say’ or ‘not decided’ in the answer options, which will help certain truly undecided respondents to answer the questions in an unbiased manner.
    • Don'ts: Avoid leading questions, such as are you worried about the safety of your children? Or are you worried about the rising crime rate amongst youngsters? Such questions imply something is wrong when everything is alright. Don't use poorly phrased questions like, should ideal parents be worried about using a special seat for children in cars? Instead, phrase the questions like Do you think smaller children require special seats in car? Good questions give good impression motivating more people to participate in the poll, thereby increasing the accuracy of your online polls.
  3. Timing of polls:

    Apart from participants and questions, the time when the poll is conducted matters a good deal in analyzing the results. If you have conducted a poll last year to understand whom people prefer to be a President of America in 2020 will differ greatly in results if you conduct a similar poll before going to elections. As a pragmatism - recent polls or fresh polls provide more accurate and meaningful data as compared to the old polls.

    • Do’s: As far as possible conduct fresh polls to receive fresh opinions. Fresh polls provide fresh insights and a new set of respondents have new thoughts and new opinions related to the issue.
    • Do n'ts: Don't take decisions or do not make assumptions based on the old poll results. The result not only depends on the time when the survey was conducted but it also takes into consideration the number of respondents who participated in the poll.
  4. The margin of error:

    Before going public with the interpretation of poll results, it is a duty of a responsible pollster or research organization to consider and declare the potential of error in their poll. Depending on the size of the sample and by using statistical possibilities, it is easy to retrieve a margin of error in a poll.

    • Do’s: Not only you are expected to declare the margin of error, but you are also expected to determine and understand the factors playing an important part to access the validity of the poll. As every poll has a margin of error, it is expected from you to publish the margin of error along with the poll results.
    • Don'ts: If you are conducting a poll, ensure you utilize the data in a proper way and in the same manner you intended to use it. Underutilization of the data is a waste of expenses, efforts, and efficiency of the poll maker platform. Understand the error of margin and analyze the data rhetorically to set goals that matter and will bring about an expected change.

Features of an online poll maker

Thanks to the technology evolution for easing the pain and effort needed to create a poll. If you are interested to take a poll (any poll either related to business or elections) all you need is a free online poll maker..

  1. Usually, a poll contains a single question, but poll maker offers the flexibility to add questions depending on your requirements.
  2. The poll maker provides you the option to create a poll using either a poll/survey template or you can start from scratch
  3. Most of the online poll makers offer multilingual platforms, which allows participants to take the poll in their native language effortlessly.
  4. There is an abundant variety of poll questions including image and video integrated questions
  5. You also have an option to choose the answer type suiting your needs. More often, single choice, multiple choice, and textual answer types are preferred in a poll.
  6. After creating a poll, the poll maker itself has different options to distribute the poll for garnering qualified responses.
  7. You can share the poll link through social media, SMS, and email. Additionally, you can embed the poll in your website or integrate a pop-up poll.
  8. All the polls created using a free online poll maker are fully mobile responsive and are optimized to work seamlessly on all handheld devices including tablets.
  9. The beauty of the online poll maker is the robust poll reporting and analytic tools offering real-time analysis that quickly turns data into insights.
  10. You can use different analysis techniques such as segmentation, cross-tabulation, regression analysis,text analysis, etc.
  11. If needed you have an option to export all your poll data in Excel, SPSS, txt., format or upload the data to Dropbox and Google Drive.

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