We’re mid-way through March and – depending on the tenor of the day from the campaign trail – we’re either very close to declaring Donald Trump the Republican Party’s nominee or we’re headed to a contested convention. Oh, and did you hear, there’s a race going on in the Democratic Party as well.
It’s been a wild ride, folks. And, yet despite the unpredictability of the race and the rise of new political voices, one thing that remains steadfast is the importance of polling. In a race where hour-by-hour we’re receiving breaking news alerts about a controversial new comment, a surprise endorsement or an unusual policy position, understanding the impact on voters and current candidate standings is critical, especially as we head into campaign-defining races in March and April.
There has been a lot of discussion about the future of polling. In a recent New York Times opinion piece, “ What’s the Matter with Polling,” author Cliff Zukin, professor of public policy and political science at Rutgers University, posed a few concerns among pollsters, including the shift in technology widening the net for engaging samples, the challenge of finding a representative sample and the overstatement by respondents about the likelihood of their voting.
That’s why, at BIG, the foundation of our online and phone survey studies is based on finding the shiny pennies. That’s how we characterize qualified, representative respondents who we trust to provide unbiased responses on their voting preference. This race, while unconventional, has also created an incredibly engaged dialogue, an informed public and new potential voters showing interest in electing our next President. Our skilled, experienced interviewers understand how to screen and select phone respondents and online panels who will provide candidates with the most reliable data output from qualified samples. And that’s why we’ve been a trusted information services provider for over 40 years and counting.
The pundits and national media remain completely flabbergasted by the course of the 2016 race. Yet despite the unconventional race, polling remains an incredibly important component of predicting state-by-state outcomes and understanding where we’re heading as a country, whether you agree with the results or not.