In the late 1930s, curiosity struck John Gallup and he became interested in collecting public opinion. That was the beginning of the American Institute of Public Opinion, later known as the Gallup poll. This research institution conducts polls on a variety of topics but is well known for their political polling. The Gallup institution is centripetal in propelling the ongoing relationship between market research and the political sphere, due to their legacy of reliability in election polls and presidential approval ratings. In fact, the Gallup presidential approval poll was introduced shortly after the American Institute of Public Opinion was created. Although, Gallup was later acquired by SRI Research, their tradition of political and socioeconomic polls remains a longstanding tradition.
Gallup initiated the relationship between market research and politics, but many other market researchers have begun gauging public opinion through a variety of methods. Politicians, media officials, businesses, and several other parties are highly dependent on this data collection. This can be illustrated in the ongoing dispute regarding the election prediction polls during the 2016 Presidential Election. Public opinion allows political parties to orchestrate their marketing plans and show them what audiences to focus their attention. It can also provide a sense of assurance or urgency among the voters depending on their candidate’s status among the public. During the 2016 Election, the majority of the polls did not render the correct outcome. The 2016 Election served as a pivotal moment for market research. Conversations regarding data accuracy and survey methodology are still circulating although President Trump has already taken office.
Despite these challenges, market research is still prospering in the political sphere. President Trump and his administration are proceeding through the first 100 days and implementing their plans announced on the campaign trail. Simultaneously, market researchers are gauging the public’s response to the new implementations and measuring the public approval rating of the president. Media outlets are utilizing this data in the reporting which creates conversations between the presidential administration, the media, and the public about “the facts.” These ongoing conversations encourage more market research to be conducted in order to increase reach to specific audiences and improve data quality. As a result, the Trump presidency will substantially impact the growth of the research industry.
Although market research has always had an important role in politics, the importance of public opinion only seems to be growing. The market research industry became the center of conversation during the election. Data quality and accuracy are now being heavily considered by politicians and media outlets. Market research and public opinion data will be the tools used by political parties to validate their efforts. While media outlets are dependent on data for reporting. It is reasonable to expect that market research is an industry that will surely thrive over the next four years.