Polling has been carried out for centuries now, with the sole aim to get a general opinion of people regarding a particular topic of discussion. Even with the technological advancement brought along in all these years, the only thing that has modified is the medium of conducting a survey/poll. One of the major changes was marked with the dawn of Internet; it has completely reformed the way everything works. Polls and surveys which were earlier conducted by meeting up people and asking them questions in person is now performed online without stepping out. Nonetheless, the reason for which polls were conducted still remains unchanged – research and review. There are different type of polls that can be run for various business, political or personal reasons.
As the name implies, opinion polls are conducted to gather public opinion on a subject matter. A series of questions are asked to general population and then various possibilities are explored on the basis of results obtained. Traditionally, opinion polls were conducted by targeting a group of people and contacting them with the help of telecommunications or communicating in person. Contrastingly, today opinion polls are carried online where anyone who wishes to participate can vote and contribute in the results. Opinion polls are widely used in the public relations field as well.
Benchmark polls are popularly used for campaigns to gauge a candidate’s bid, the success of his/her message, and where he/she stands in the competition. Justifying its name, benchmark poll is the first poll conducted in the entire campaign to take a survey of the likely voters. It gives a clear idea to the candidate about their position in the campaign. Moreover, it lets the candidate know which type of messages will work best with certain demographics and which should be avoided for successful run in the campaign.
Sometimes also called as rolling poll, tracking poll comprises of conducting polls consecutively at a particular frequency (usually weekly, or even daily). The results are then evaluated by calculating an average of the responses obtained over a fixed time window. For instance, a weekly tracking poll evaluates data only from the previous week and discard all the older data.
These type of polls are carried out to get a rough idea about the results before the voters cast their votes. Chances of the prospect changing his/her mind later is comparatively less; hence, questions like who voters plan to vote for and other such questions are asked in it.
This type of poll is conducted by private companies to get an early indication about how the results might turn out for the actual poll. Exit polls are conducted right after the main polling has been completed.
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