GB Insights Case Studies


Will You Win? How Candidates Can Use the Internet for Political Polling on a Shoestring Budget

By Alice Verberne

The costs in running for political office can get pricy with advertising and expense of being on the road. When budget is an underlying factor as to what methodology a politician can afford, internet-research can be viable solution.

“I was once hired to conduct a political poll for a then unknown independent candidate running for Senate. The client had two issues going against him, name recognition and lack of financing,” says George Brezny of GB Marketing Research Solutions, LLC.

Interestingly, even with a shoestring budget, Brezny was able to present a general sense of where the candidate stood in the polls at a statistically significant level using Qualtrics combined with Florida registration records (available to the public at a small percentage).

“After a free consultation offering a host of methodological choices, the candidate decided to conduct a series of moment-in-time survey polls using the web to field the study,” says Brezny.

This inexpensive internet-survey methodology predicted whether the candidate would win or not within a percentage of his actual outcome – each time the survey was conducted. Unfortunately, the candidate did not win the seat.

So, what happens if you get a result that you will lose?

Theoretically, by knowing the outcome in advance, candidates could reposition themselves to respond to voters’ needs. If done with sufficient advance time, those running for office could respond with marketing strategies to improve their position. They could then re-conduct the survey to monitor changes in opinion.

When survey and sampling processes are carefully designed and conducted based on best-in-class polling methods, results can have surprising accuracy.

So, before sinking loads of money into campaign slogans and marketing; candidates running for office might want to consider adding a research company into the expense of their campaign budget. A good way to predict how a candidate will fare on election is to get advice in advance from a pollster or statistics group using market research.

Pre-polling surveys can be a cost-effective way to predict the results an election and help the candidate get a feel for where they stand and how to adjust their campaign strategy. They should also have back up plans on how to respond to negative results with a strong marketing and political strategy.

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Alice Verberne is a consultant for GB Marketing Research Solutions, a consortium of marketing research subject matter experts with over 30-years experience in market research programs. GB uses AGILE market research to innovate, monitor and take action across the entire marketing continuum.