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What is Polling?

Polling is an interactive activity which aims to survey public opinion about a particular topic. A poll consists of a question and response options.
It is like an item of a multiple choice type of examination. Like an examination, the respondent is requested to pick an answer from the given options.
Say for example this poll about your favorite singer: “Is Lady Gaga deserving to win 3 Grammy’s? A. Yes! B. No! C. Undecided.”
All answers from respondents are gathered and classified.
The result is then showed to the respondents. Results are analyzed statistically and are used to decide on recommendations and future actions.
Who conducts polling? Authorities and businesses do.
During elections, polling is being used. People cast their votes to identify who are their choices to be the next leaders in the state. Thus, results of election polls name who the next President is.
Businesses use polling also to know whether their customers are satisfied with their service or not. Through polls, businesses are able to identify whether their service performs well in the market or not.
Some businesses use their in-house research department to conduct polls. However, some hire polling companies to do it for them. Say for example US businesses using Poll iT, a polling service offered by New Media Services.
In the last decades, polls were done in the paper-and-pencil approach. Respondents answered the poll question on the paper provided for them. Hosts of polls needed time to look for respondents and travelled to places where the respondents live.
Now, technology does it for lazy man. Polling can be done with the use of the internet and mobile devices.
With this new system, people do not need to knock from door to door. What you need are simply computer sets, polling software and Information Technology (IT) specialists to manage the whole activity.
In this new system, polling is much easier. First, you must prepare the question and the response options. Then, IT specialists publish the question and response options in your business site or web communities. Thus, when respondents visit the sites, they can answer the poll question immediately.
Respondents can also receive the poll question and response options via Short Message Service and via e-mails. In web polling, respondents just click their answer in the website where the poll is published. In a few seconds, they can see partial results.
In mobile polling, respondents text their answer back, as stated in the instruction.
One special type of mobile polling is voice. The respondent’s mobile number is dialed manually and the question is delivered verbally. This is more accepted in statistics. However, some countries prohibit this kind of mobile polling.
Respondents can also access the website where the poll is posted using Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) browsers. Web polls can be customized for mobile viewing.
Instead of manual tallying, computer software gathers all answers from thousands of respondents around the world and tallies them. The software also publishes the results of the poll in the host website, via e-mail or SMS.
Businesses use polling for two main purposes. First, they want to know if their customers like their service or not. They want to know the level of acceptance of their service especially the new ones.
Second, they want to generate information about their customers. Through polls, businesses can come up with databases of names, locations and contact details of their customers.
Polls also appear in popular social networking sites like Facebook. Users of these sites enjoy rating their favorite celebrities, asking themselves if they like a certain politician, and even reflecting on how strong their faith is.
In Australia, most notable polling organizations include Newspoll, Roy Morgan Research, Galaxy Polling and AC Nielsen Polling. These organizations tackle questions evolving around politics, entertainment, sports, lifestyle and business.
To respondents, it is fun answering poll questions. But to businesses and other hosts of polls, it is a serious evaluating tool and a means to create good relationship with their constituents- a foundation of success in the trade.


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