Tag Archives: politics

Online Political Polls Catching On?

As Americans’ modes of communication are continually changing, the techniques/methods that produce the most accurate polls are changing as well. At qSample, we have to stay on top of the latest political polling techniques in order to get the most accurate results when election season comes around, which is just around the corner


In 2012’s presidential election, a number of polling firms that conduct their surveys online had solid results. But others, especially those that relied exclusively on calling land lines, performed very poorly, showing a more Republican-leaning electorate than actually turned out.


Up until the 2012 election, the most renowned political polling companies had not adopted online polling. Notably Gallup, which had been known as the gold standard of the industry for the past three decades. According to the New York Times, some of the most accurate firms were those that conducted their polls online, citing internet polling companies like Google Consumer Surveys, Ipsos, Angus Reid Public Opinion and YouGov for producing surveys whose results held up after the election.


Despite stellar results, polling standards, adopted by most all notable media outlets, still do not permit reporting of online polls because it is still estimated that one in five people in America still do not have access to the internet. New York Times policy states, “In order to be worthy of publication in The Times, a survey must be representative, that is, based on a random sample of respondents. Any survey that relies on the ability and/or availability of respondents to access the internet and choose whether to participate is not representative and therefore not reliable.”


Online polls differ from telephone surveys in some fundamental ways. Respondents to Internet polls complete the surveys using their computer, mobile device or smartphone.

Within the field of online polling, there are important differences in the way respondents are selected. This is known as sampling.


Phone polling holds as one of its founding principles the idea of probability sampling; for the universe that is being surveyed, each member has a defined and equal likelihood of being selected to participate in the survey.


When almost every American lived in a household with a landline phone, it was easy to design a representative sampling frame for a basic political survey. Presently, a dual-frame sample, combining landline and cell phones, is considered by phone pollsters to be closest to a true probability sample.

Internet polls, in most cases, use nonprobability sampling. They exclude households without Internet access; these demographics tend to be older and lower-income Americans. Most online polls are also completed by people who choose to participate. Some participants sign up to complete online polls on websites that offer prizes such as gift cards to chain restaurants and movie theaters, giveaways, etc. Others are responding to ads placed on other websites that may or may not be related to the poll’s subject, a technique known as river sampling.

A few news organizations did begin to experiment with Internet polling during the 2012 cycle. CBS News used online methods, partnering with YouGov. But CBS also conducted national live-caller telephone polls, and they partnered with Quinnipiac University for the battleground-state polls. It will be interesting to see if pollsters will begin using more online samples with the results the 2012 election had.




qSample offers many great panels for data collection and analysis. In addition to the likely voter panel, qSample cultivates other high-quality specialty panels. Those panels include:
Mobile Users, Gamers, Doctors, Contractors, Home Owners, Students, Baby Boomers, Veterinarians, and Pet Owners.

You can find more information by clicking on the panels tab above, or contact qSample here


What our Pets Say about our Personality

The age old battle between pet owners always comes down to which animal is better: a cat or a dog? A recent study found that the answer may depend on the personality of the owner, and that there really is a difference between people who identify themselves as “dog people and “cat people.”

The study from Carroll University suggests that “dog people” are energetic and outgoing, while “cat people” are introverted and sensitive. They found that, “dog people are more likely to conform to the rules, while “cat people” tend to be non-conformists.

However, just because a person owns a cat doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re introverted or nonconformist. The study ultimately concludes that people who identify as a “cat person” are more introverted and likely to enjoy spending more time at home, which makes owning a cat attractive. They may be drawn to cats’ independent nature, while energetic people are attracted to owning dogs, because they like being outside and they can take a dog along with them.

Just as there are personality differences between cat and dog owners, there are regional differences between the two groups.. As the map below shows, cat owners are more likely to live in the northeast, while dog owners are more likely to live in the south. If the map looks slightly familiar, it’s because where cat and dog owners live, falls in line with the electoral map of the 2012 presidential race.

What do our pets say about our personality

States with the highest number of owned cats



2012 Presidential election map











Like previous studies have suggested, personality may dictate their political preferences. Those who believe in closely following the rules are more likely to identify as conservative, whereas, those considered open and non-conformist are more likely to identify as liberal. Those same personality characteristics explain why some people are “cat people” and others are “dog people.” A study published by the American Veterinarian Medical Association found that red states have the highest rates of dog ownership, while blue states have the highest rate of cat ownership.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, 164 million households owned pets in 2012. Roughly 62 percent of all American households own at least one pet. The HSUS states that 83.3 million owned dogs, which was edged out by the 95.6 million that owned cats.

With millions of cats and dogs owned by U.S. residents, 41 percent of veterinarians see more than 50 pets in a typical week. They typically work from 40 to 50 hours a week, according to a poll of qSample’s veterinary panel.

Personality traits not only dictate our political leanings, but our choice in pets as well.