Political polls are a popular method of gaining insight into the way people might vote during any election. Avoiding error as much as possible will enhance the accuracy of your poll and give your audience a more accurate conclusion.
Have Adequate Sample Size
Error and sample size are closely related. The larger your sample, the smaller your margin of error. Fortunately, there are numerous methods used to estimate the number of participants you will need for your study. In the case of political polls, you will likely use historical information as the basis of your calculations. For example, many polls are based upon the number of eligible voters for a specific election. There could be some notable differences when basing your sample size upon the number of eligible voters versus voter turnout in prior elections. For example, national elections generally have a higher percentage of voter turnout, which might lead you to use eligible voters as the basis for your sample size. State and local elections might produce a lower error rate if you use voter turnout in past state and local elections.
Test What You Intend To Test
Political polls can go awry if you select the wrong test for the questions you are asking. Generally, this is less of a problem if you are simply trying to determine which candidate will likely win. For example, if you have a large enough sample, you might determine one candidate is favored 53% to 35%, and these figures are well beyond a margin of error of +/- 3%. Analysis becomes more complicated if you are attempting to predict the way specific voters will vote.
You may need to use multivariate analyses if you are attempting to determine which characteristics of a demographic may determine the outcome of the election. This can be useful for estimating the way people from a specific area might vote. For example, it is not enough to say women will generally vote for a specific candidate, while men will likely vote for the other candidate. You might determine specific characteristics, such as income, education, and age, for both men and women, to have some predictive value. If the area in question has a high concentration of people of a certain age and income bracket, you might have a general idea of which candidate they will choose.
Interpret Results Accurately
No matter how accurate the sampling, testing, and analyses, it does little if the results are reported inaccurately or in a biased manner. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when reporting the results is to overgeneralize your conclusions. If your analyses reveals that women in a specific locality with higher education generally favor a particular candidate, this has no bearings on simultaneous elections, and you cannot apply this information to other elections. Additionally, when a candidate leads another by an amount that is within the margin of error, you are doing a disservice by not stressing that the results are essentially a coin-toss.
Being meticulous about your approach for political polls can significantly reduce error and enhance the accuracy of your results. Contact a company like Political Robo Calling to learn more about political polling.