Two types of political surveys: pre-election and voting intentions

In the pre-election survey is usually evaluated trends, opinions and attitudes related to the assessment of both policies and actions of government and with certain people.
In the first case, the pre-election survey can evaluate public policies, or the possible impact on public reform or specific action.
In the second pre-election survey seeks to know where certain personalities are known and candidates.
In contrast, pre-election survey seeks eminenemente know if people would vote, not vote or do not yet know, a particular candidate.
It is characteristic of pre-election poll people to try to know as a candidate associated with certain characteristics, such as being honest, experienced, tough, and many others.
This will seek to strengthen their candidate maintainers public properties by adjusting their speech and behavior in the campaign to the wishes of the electorate.
Sometimes the voting intention poll is combined with a simulation of voting in a ballot box is delivered to the respondent or with different ballots to choose one and "vote".

The types of survey: individual survey

There are, strictly speaking, various types of opinion polls and attitudes registration.
But if we analyze the different types of surveys in processes for the collection of data we can distinguish three major types of survey: staff survey, the self-administered survey and telephone survey.
From now on, we must clarify, we are talking about surveys that apply to people or survey investigating the opinions and attitudes of individuals.
Discussed in this post the individual survey.


The personal interview is the best known of the three types, and today almost no one living in urban centers has not been sought to answer some.
This is a typical face-to-face survey.
In this type of survey requires a team of trained interviewers who, after receiving an instruction concerning the nature of the survey, how to administer the questionnaire, some problems with certain questions, how to access the survey, should contact the persons elected to be interviewed.
Sometimes when it is a multistage sample survey, the last stage, which involves selecting people who have to answer, is undertaken by the interviewer.
At other times, however, already has the address and name of the person, as when performed on a standard sample, eg a professional society.
It is the task of the interviewer approached the respondent with a structured or semi-structured questionnaire, or with any questions closed or open and closed questions (discuss this later).
One of the methodological issues is often not sufficiently appreciated is that all questions must be made strictly in the order they appear in the questionnaire, in the same tone and, above all, without adding or omitting anything, even a comma in the text survey questionnaire.
This ensures the objectivity of the results from the application of the same stimulus to all respondents. Let's be clear, as always, that these considerations are made on the assumption that the questionnaire is objective and is built by professionals, that the questions measure what they purport to measure, and so on.
Some types of personal opinion polls are coincidental survey, the survey at random or random (or which includes, as recorded at a final stage of sampling a random selection process) and survey fees.
The coincidental survey is a type of non-probability sampling (later we will analyze it), or a sample in which no one knows the error of estimate (we'll explain later) or error resulting from the spread of the sample data population. In the survey, the interviewer takes coincidental random people in a busy city and survey.
It's that simple, as they make bad journalists and pollsters (and political operatives, why deny it), although some research may be used responsibly. In the survey at random or random pollster has a table of random numbers that tells you based on the number of questionnaires to be completed, for example, which household member should interview and may in some cases replace him in case of absence for an individual of the same sex and similar socioeconomic level and age.
Finally, the quota sampling is one in which the interviewer and out of the office of the institute or consultancy or agency with a guideline on how many men interviewed, a few women, what ages, what you already know what you want and crossing is going as the respondent.
As can be seen, the random survey individual may lead to the replacement of absent or rejecting entevistado a fee.

Opinion polls as a way of sampling

Today mention an error that is usually found frequently in the literature on surveys and opinion polls.
The same is to confuse all the surveys for opinion polls or social surveys. If we wish to clarify what is a survey, or provide a definition, we must make it clear that by no means something that applies to people necessarily.
In fact, the survey is a technique of data collection (some might question how far the data are "collected" as one who takes something that's already been out there and are not created, at least to some extent by those who do research, but that is another problem that will address later) that derives or is an application of the sampling procedure.
Specifically is the use of certain standardized and validated procedures under which the research takes information on a representative sample of a population or universe, as is usually called the total haw investigated.
It is clear that the purpose of such research procedures is to improve our insight of some phenomenon, say a good explanation.
One can conduct a survey in which sample is selected books from a library upon which a questionnaire is completed in some information, because what matters is that the procedure and representative sample.
This, as already mentioned, results from the application of the mathematical theory of probabilities to the investigation of phenomena, whether or not social.
A sample survey differs from a census in which it is to administer a questionnaire to all people concerned, while the survey is always applied to a sample, the best representative.

History of opinion polls: the individual votes

An interesting chapter in the history of what opinion polls are the "special votes". These consisted of a sort of simulacrum of elections conducted in order to obtain in advance, or before election day, data about what would happen. The dream of prophecy.
It must be said, however, that something somewhat similar to what is even then we will detail today by the consulting firms and public opinion, since in many cases pre-election polls include in its final section the request that the interviewed take an envelope delivered by the interviewer, and make out of sight of it a choice between several ballots that were granted.
Generally the envelope, sealed, placed in an urn or in another larger envelope. But the difference is that this information is contrasted with that obtained in the survey, which does have scientific rigor, if we are talking about a serious institution.
Well, the individuals were a voting ballots through homely, somewhat revoleo who commissioned some American newspapers hungry for scoops.
The first was conducted by the Harrisburg Daily Star and Pennsylvania and Raleigh were local. The procedures, characterized by methodological rigor were not possess such as completing a paper form with the name of the person who was going to vote and then mail it to the drafting, mail surveys and even a "vote" with polls and all done in some busy streets.
Precisely, and because of that lack of rigor, individual votes were an important step on the origin of the opinion polls because they were a terrible failure.
In the twentieth century the best known were those of a magazine, Literary Digest, in 1936 and after spending lots of money in mailing and processing data from surveys 2,000,000 wrongly predicted would win the Republican candidate.
George Gallup, Elmo Roper and Crossley Archival announced, after surveying more than 5,000 people not Eleanor Roostvelt win. And they were not wrong. Gallup and his friends inauguranon the time of the polls employing representative samples adjusted odds of socioeconomic status, gender of the respondents and age.
This, with variations, is what is done today. The impact that caused the failure of Literary Digest and Gallup and company's success led to the knowledge of the general public and widely accepted use of sample surveys of opinion, although market research already used.
In short, as expected, in both the U.S. and Europe came a series of private and state institutions whose primary or sole task was to carry out opinion surveys using sampling procedures.

Opinion polls: history and some methodological details

Opinion polls are not, in fact nothing but a way of investigating. In particular, are a method, or a set of methods or techniques, aimed at collecting information about some aspect of social reality. Properly understood, then as a research strategy of social phenomena, the poll is fairly recent, then use systematic and controlled (and successful) dates from the interwar period of the twentieth century.
The practical reasons that led to its development (something quick) and implementation were, naturally, in war, economic and largely related to the profound social and political changes that were operated on is this particular period. However, beyond the needs of specific practices that gave rise, the survey would not have been possible without the theoretical and methodological developments that support and, previously, had not taken place. As noted, the survey is provided, among other things, the application of certain mathematical procedures to obtain information on social reality. Here it should be noted the importance of American sociology, as embodied in major theorists and researchers such as Paul Lazarsfeld and the famous George Gallup.
In the next posting will show how, in the American case in particular, individual ballots and certain developments in social psychology set the stage, so to speak, the emergence of the survey, the opinion poll as we know it today, meaning a tool of public record.
Let us note finally that, as background music for all these reasons and background, there has always been associated with research through opinion polls what Karl Popper called the old dream of prophecy: the desire to know what happen. It is not necessary to know what a survey or to properly take this factor into account, but if we arrive at an understanding of the case, it should not be olivdar.
Many are those who do not mind, and many people mistakenly believe have achieved.

Technical data of a survey

The technical specifications or technical data from a survey is a description, brief but compendious, the most important factors relating to the way it was done the same. It is important to remember that opinion polls is a social research, or rather a part of a process of social research, and as such is the correct application of certain scientific methods and validated a theoretical knowledge.
In particular, the data sheet, usually seen in a recuadrito or a footnote in the report with the results of the survey provides information on the time of the survey data (when people were surveyed), the period if it was during the weekend or on weekdays (this, we shall see, can be very important) in what place, how the respondents were selected and what was the total population on which the survey.
This is because, for example, the results of a survey of adolescents can be very different if the survey is administered to adolescents in a city that would be obtained if you apply to the entire adult population of that city, that very probably have a different view on the issue, and even different from the results that may shed a survey of adolescents in the country.
The sheet reveals the methodology that was carried on the survey data and, if this was done with the appropriate technical rigor, these procedures should yield similar results if we repeat the data collection work under the same guidelines. Public and replicable This is typical of scientific knowledge.
That a work is not that a sheet is a good reason to have some caution about its reliability.

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