Political polling remains an embattled speciality heading into the ’22 midterm cycle, which is precisely why it’s critical for survey research professionals to keep testing and innovating, said Brent Buchanan of the polling firm Cygnal.
Buchanan talked to C&E about the future of survey research online, particularly online panel research. It’s not mature enough yet as a tool, but it’s getting there.
“While multi-mode polling is challenging, online panel research done right is also really difficult. But I think people are experimenting with it because they realize that phone polling is dead … it can be a component of it, but it cannot be the only mode you’re using.”
A note on his firm’s approach: They treat experimentation as its own line item in the monthly budget. Buchanan said every one of his teams at Cygnal has a monthly spend allowance they call “the innovation expense” and teams are able to request more in a given month if they can make a solid case for the need to test above and beyond what’s already allowed for.
According to Buchanan: “Every month we max out and usually go above that line item in the budget.”