Our research helps people win races. We like winning and think that you do, too. Let’s win together.
Our polling is mostly done in collaboration with Steve Leopoldo of Margin of Era. Sometimes we work alone, but usually together.
At its best, polling is a structured listening experience to people who may not have the time to tell you what they think otherwise. It’s the practice of radical openness to what people have to tell you about their views and experiences, going to meet people where they are and being receptive to what you may find. We help you understand what is happening to whom and how you can be what they need.
Polling is the practical application of ethnography, the study of peoples as people. What is happening to people, who they are and how they live is often inseparable from where they live – demography and geography are inseparable, which is why you see so many critical statistics about people represented by maps.
We are what you can call a where-first polling firm – we understand that people who are otherwise similar but live in different places have very different lives, and take that into account in everything we do. Our job is to help you make sense of what people tell you and act on it in every part of your work. We don’t just hand you a book and disappear, we help you with everything you do after.
Quantitative Research is the formal name for what people traditionally think of as “polling”, that is,
- a structured survey instrument,
- used to ask people questions in person by mail, telephone, text message, email or online,
- over a short period of time.
This is what you can call macroscopic research, understanding the lives of people at level that can be described by where they live, such as “African-American voters who live in middle class precincts of Houston”. We work with your existing research and intelligence, publicly available research and intelligence and the best intelligence available from commercial data vendors to put together a comprehensive district profile, which is not only a briefing resource, but able to be used and analyzed using statistical and geographical software.
With this district profile, we have something we can use to build a plan to get the information you need.
Once we have this profile, we work with the best in class data collection firms to structure the research and get you the answers you need on the timeline you need.
A baseline survey is a fancy way of describing a full-depth, comprehensive investigation into the starting conditions, the first round of intelligence that you will need. We generally suggest that these surveys be longer, at least fifteen minutes, usually eighteen to twenty, because they are going to provide us all the information we need to measure how effective our actions are. It’s important to make sure that these are as comprehensive and well designed as we can.
Trend and Tracking Surveys
Once we have a baseline, want to start seeing how conditions are changing in response to our actions (effect) and to external circumstances. It’s the nature of things to constantly change – we have to keep track of what’s happening and what we’re causing to happen, intentionally or unintentionally.
Tracking and trend surveys can be conducted at a cadence that aligns with your desired level of activity. We recommend periodic surveys in the three months leading up to the general election (or significant date) to track progress, make any refinements to message and strategy. Trend surveys are an intermediate length, somewhere between eight and twelve minutes.
Once we get closer to Election Day, we tighten things up even further and recommend that we do shorter surveys, more frequently, to keep track of the ever volatile conditions. These tracking surveys are short and to the point, generally between five and eight minutes.
Voters do not live in the cloud (there is no cloud, so nothing lives there, but if there were a cloud and something lived there, it would not be voters), they live in specific places and have lives that are impacted by those places. We don’t just collect answers to questions, we help you see how those answers represent people: where they live, where people like them live and what impact that whereness has on your findings and strategy.
Advanced Statistical Analysis
We recommend using geospatial and geographical variables in every analysis that you undertake.
There are a lot of techniques that we can use to more accurately highlight elements of the findings – sometimes it’s CHAID analysis, sometimes it’s multivariate regression, sometimes it’s factor analysis, sometimes it’s something else entirely. We don’t limit ourselves to preferred techniques, and will do whatever it takes to get you the answers you need.
Qualitative research is the formal name for what people traditionally think of as focus groups,
- structured and facilitated sessions,
- small numbers of participants with in person questions and conversation,
- seeking things like reactions to stimuli as way of discovering meanings, concepts, definitions, characteristics, metaphors, symbols, and description of things.
Where Quantitative Research is macroscopic, Qualitative Research is microscopic. We are looking for information that is not well captured by structured research at large scales, such as inflections in voice when answering questions, body language and the totality of experience. Qualitative research can help you find that perfect phrasing of an idea or confirm that you are giving people the message that you want them to hear.
Qualitative Research is difficult to do under the best of circumstances, and when you are talking about political issues that can be life and death for people, it’s hard to keep from introducing your own views into the conversation. Doing so will make the research useless, however, which is why we don’t do so at all. As a firm, we value radical openness and honesty, and we are all certified focus group moderators. You can trust what we find for you.