Polling: What to expect in the coming political season…

By: Michelle Henry

Elections bring politics and politics bring the need for understanding what the public thinks which is discovered though public opinion research or polls. During big elections like the upcoming presidential race, battleground states like Ohio are of particular interest so Akron area households and the surrounding area should expect to be asked what they think more often than ever.

This isn’t all bad. Being asked to give your opinion without debate, judgment or disapproval is uncommon and gives us a chance to share what we think about important topics and allows us to take part in public discussions about those issues that shape the future of our communities and the country. Sometimes, though, we just don’t want to or have time to talk. Unlike telemarketers researchers can call at any time and on any phone, listed or unlisted, landline or cell phone, because the laws that govern telemarketing exempt survey research because the government recognizes the important of collecting the opinions from the public to make decisions that affect the public.

You can do several things to minimize the inconvenience of this political season. Sometimes people are bothered at the time they receive a call. There is never a perfect time to receive a call for everybody. Some people don’t like to be called at dinner, others don’t like to be called during prime time TV and still others don’t like to be called while putting the kids to bed or after 9 when they may be taking a few minutes after a busy day to relax. If you are called at a time that is inconvenient ask to be called at a better time for your schedule. Setting an appointment to be called back is a great way to exercise your right to share what you think and still do it at a time that fits your schedule.

Some people prefer not to be called at all. Often when people chose not to participate they don’t answer the phone, hang up the phone without engaging in a conversation or tell the interviewer they are not interested or don’t have time. In each of these cases, you should expect to be called again, because it is important for the quality of the data that many different perspectives are collected and people who are busy and don’t consent to participate initially often have different experiences and opinions than those who have more time or are more open to participating right away. If you would like to not be called again, ask the interviewer ‘please, do not call again.’ Using this specific language will cause your phone number to end up in a special category that will keep you from being called again by that research firm.