The Advantages of Live Phone Polling

The Advantages of Live Phone Polling

From Trump vs Clinton to Brexit to Biden vs Trump, once reliable election polls have got it badly wrong. It’s fair to say that the confidence the public once placed in polls has been shaken.

So, what went wrong? And how can we rediscover a way to gauge the true pulse of the public accurately?

Well, a Pew Research study into evolution of polling methods might hold a clue.

Live phone polling, once the gold standard for polling, has dramatically declined in use with just 10% of pollsters now relying on this method. This change has largely been driven by rising costs, low response rates – both of which can be fixed! – and the rise of online polling.

While seemingly convenient, online polling has several significant flaws which could be contributing to the inaccuracy of the polls for recent elections.

The main problem is self-selection. Opt-in online polls attract primarily motivated individuals, not a representative slice of the population. Despite efforts to refine these methods, the inherent bias remains a serious concern.

The answer to restoring trust in polling may lie in a return to a human-centered approach. Live phone surveys, while more resource-intensive, offer several crucial advantages:

  • Representative Samples: Methods like Random Digit Dialing (RDD) ensure that everyone has an equal chance to participate.
  • Capturing Emotion: Skilled interviewers can detect hesitations, enthusiasm, and subtle nuances that reveal the actual depth of feeling behind an opinion.
  • Adaptability: Live phone surveys can adjust quickly, probing deeper to understand emerging trends or unexpected responses.

In a world awash with impersonal data, the human touch of live phone surveys could be the key to unlocking the authentic voice of the public.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of live phone polling, and how the main challenges around costs and response rates can be managed.


The Advantages of Live Phone Polling

Accurate and timely insights into public opinion are crucial for calling elections, running campaigns, planning policy, and setting the tone for government.

While there are many polling methods, live phone polling stands out with its unique ability to gather qualitative and quantitative quickly and relatively cost-effectively.

While online polling can be excellent for gathering lots of quantitative data quickly and cheaply, face-to-face or doorstep polling enables deeper conversations to be had but is expensive – only live phone polling combines the best of both worlds:


1. Accuracy & Reliability

Traditional polling methods are often lacking when it comes to representativeness, leading to misleading data and wrong conclusions – which can prove to be extremely costly. Live phone polling tackles this challenge through two proven methodologies:

Random Digit Dialing (RDD): This scientifically designed approach ensures that every phone number in your designated area has an equal chance of being selected, regardless of whether they are listed in a directory. This eliminates bias towards individuals those who are listed in phone books or online, offering a true cross-section of the population. These days it is more usual to use cell phones as the percentage of the population with a landline has declined so steeply.

Electoral Roll Lists: By utilizing registered voter lists – sometimes called Registration Based Sampling (RBS) – live phone polling can target specific demographics within the electorate, allowing you to delve deeper into the opinions of key voting groups. This targeted approach offers invaluable insights for political campaigns and for those crafting policy initiatives. In countries such as Australia, which has a compulsory voting system, this ensures coverage of the whole electorate. In other countries electoral roll data can be combined with data from other available sources such as census data to give greater coverage.

The combined power of RDD and RBS guarantees representative samples, reflecting the diversity of the people living, and voting, in a given area. This translates into reliable data you can confidently use to inform crucial decisions. Studies have shown that live phone polling consistently outperforms online and automated methods in terms of accuracy, with margins of error substantially lower.


2. Deeper Insights

Live phone polling can go far beyond simply collecting quantitative data or yes / no answers. Skilled telephone interviewers are able to connect with voters and, without leading them, delve into the “why” behind the answers they give. It is this human interaction which unlocks a wealth of deeper insights:

Capturing Sentiment & Motivation: Through open-ended questions and attentive listening, interviewers can gauge nuanced emotions, find hidden concerns, and uncover the true motivations behind opinions. This understanding of sentiment goes beyond surface-level responses and unveils the factors driving public opinion.

Uncovering Hidden Biases: The dynamic nature of live conversations allows interviewers to probe deeper, potentially uncovering subconscious biases or unspoken opinions that respondents might not readily express in a self-administered survey.

Adapting to Individual Communication Styles: Skilled interviewers can adjust their approach based on each respondent’s unique communication style, ensuring comfort and encouraging honest, detailed responses. This flexibility maximizes the information gathered and minimizes the risk of misinterpretations.

By capturing these more profound insights, live phone polling provides a richer understanding of public opinion, empowering you to tailor your strategies, craft targeted messaging, and address concerns that traditional methods might miss.


3. Faster Turnaround

News cycles now work at the speed of social media rather than daily newspapers, which means the political and social landscape evolves at dizzying speed. Waiting weeks for polling results is a luxury you don’t have if you want to keep up with public opinion. Live phone polling offers a significant advantage in terms of speed:

Real-Time Data Collection: Responses are gathered and analyzed as the interviews are conducted, providing near-instantaneous insights. This allows you to react quickly to shifting trends, adjust your approach based on real-time feedback, and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Faster Analysis & Reporting: Modern technology expedites the analysis process, enabling you to receive comprehensive reports with insightful interpretations within days, not weeks. This agility empowers you to make informed decisions while the information is fresh and relevant.

The faster turnaround offered by live phone polling provides a crucial edge in fast-paced environments like political campaigns, product launches, and crises where timely reaction is essential.


4. Cost-Effectiveness

While the value of accurate and deep insights is undeniable, budgetary constraints are often a reality which is why organizations turn to less accurate methods. New methods and new locations for conducting live phone polling are changing that picture.

Competitive Pricing: Advancements in technology such as CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) and efficient workflows have made live phone polling more affordable than ever. Compared to other market research methods offering a similar level of depth and accuracy – such as face-to-face or focus groups – live phone polling is often a cost-effective alternative.

Focus on ROI: The value of live phone polling lies in the return on investment (ROI) it delivers. The actionable insights derived from deeper understanding can lead to more effective campaigns, better-targeted marketing efforts, and successful policy initiatives, ultimately saving you time and resources and potentially increasing revenue. By focusing on delivering high-quality data at a competitive price, live phone polling provides exceptional value for your investment.

Data-driven decision-making is critical particularly for political parties, campaign teams, newsrooms, academic institutions, and governments. Live phone polling offers a unique combination of accuracy, depth, speed, and cost-effectiveness.

For more information about TKW Research’s Live Phone Polling solutions – and to find out how we’ve made it cost-competitive again – visit this page.