Zogby Interactive

Since I frequently criticize the "Zogby Interactive" online polling, I thought I'd present the other side.

The Zogby Interactive poll has caught criticism and started a controversy in Arkansas, where there was a double digit discrepancy between the Zogby online poll and a University of Arkansas poll. The Hotline (aka, the best political service ever) got this response from Zogby:

Someone interested in participating signs up through solicitation notices on the company website as well as other websites that cover the political spectrum. For example, the company has used Newsmax. com, a conservative site, and Buzzflash. com, a liberal site. It also accepted referrals from participants who invite others to sign up. The company no longer solicits for participants on other sites because it has enough to choose from."

Participants provide demographic data, including their address, race and party affiliation.

When Zogby does a poll, the company will send questionnaires to a sample of their e-mail database with a goal of having the respondents represent the racial breakdown and party affiliation ratio of the state.

The company verifies at least 2% of the responding sample by making follow-up phone calls. For instance, the poll in AR used 518 responses, so about 10 responses would be double-checked for demographic accuracy and their e-mail poll answers. If many more were called, "it would defeat the purpose of doing interactive polls," Bohnert said. "Unless we found a problem, then we'd look deeper." Such problems would be if the same IP code, which is customized for each contributor through the Internet, shows up on more than one vote. The firm's software accepts only one vote from a single IP address.

The software also has ways to catch participants who forward the e-mail poll to someone else so they can try to vote and each e-mail survey can be replied to only once. Someone could vote more than once, but that person would have to be lucky and go to a lot of trouble, said Bohnert.

Anyone with multiple email addresses who has created aliases for each one could vote multiple times only by using multiple computers and if the firm picked each alias for the sample, Bohnert said. The firm has safeguards to throw out fake addresses if area codes don't match zip codes. And those telephone numbers could be called for verification. More Bohnert: "We sat around thinking about every way someone could manipulate this."

Zogby also contends that telephone polling is becoming less reliable. I agree with that, but I've yet to see indications that online political polls should be taken seriously.

I know that no political candidate would rely on online polls, and what candidates use themselves is the best measure of reliability.

Posted by Evan @ 11/16/05 11:33 AM


Previous Entry | Home | Next Entry


More mumbo jumbo from a guy who has gotten it right once. (1996) even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Posted by hamiltonfan @ 11/16/05 01:47 PM

Add Comments

No flames or impolite behavior. HTML will be stripped. URLs will be transformed into hyperlinks.