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What do polls mean?

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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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.

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 polls

  • 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.

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