Frequently Asked Questions

How does Pollster® work?

Pollster® allows you to create and run your own scientific opinion polls for a fraction of traditional cost. You can record the poll yourself, or use our professional recording services. Then send the poll to us with a single click, and we will begin calling within your specified geographic area, or poll using your internal list. View real-time statistics as the poll runs, and a final report on completion.

You have several options for how to conduct your poll or message.

DIY Polling or Messaging
Record your own poll using the Pollster® software and a microphone. Send the poll to us with a single click, and we will run the poll for you. As the poll runs, you can view live statistics in your online dashboard. Professional recording services are also available.

Turn-key Polling or Messaging
Call us up, tell us what you want to know. We write the questions, professionally record the poll, and deliver the results. With this option, we handle the process from start to finish.

Pollster All-In-One
Run your own polls from a desktop computer, complete with built-in phone board and microphone. Record your poll, plug your phone lines in, and poll away!

Who makes Pollster®?

Orion Systems—established over 30 years ago—is one of the world’s largest surveying companies. Pollster® is the culmination of over 20 years of research and development.

What is ‘Margin of Error’

Margin of Error is another way of saying ‘sampling error.’ The smaller the margin of error, the more accurately the poll reflects the opinions of the entire population. The higher the margin of error, the less reliable the poll. Pollster® automatically calculates margin of error.

What is ‘Confidence Level’?

Confidence Level means that the true percentages found in the poll results fall within the margin of error. Confidence levels are usually reflected in one of three different levels, 99%, 95% and 90%. Most polls have a confidence level of 95%. In other words, 95% of the time when a poll is conducted the poll’s results will fall within the margin of error. Margin of error is not fully defined if the confidence level is not defined. Confidence level is automatically calculated by Pollster®.

What is ‘Branching’ and why is it important?

In many polls, not all questions need be asked of all respondents—certain subgroups of respondents can be identified and routed to “branching” questions applicable to the identified subgroups. For example, in a political poll, you may route respondents by asking them whether they are Republicans, Democrats or Independents. Depending on the answers, you can route an individual respondent to a question or series of questions pertaining specifically to one of these party or political affiliations (such as the respondent’s preference of presidential nominee for the party). The questions to which the respondent is routed are branching questions. Another example: In a consumer research or customer satisfaction poll, you may identify a subgroup of respondents wishing to purchase an item or service. Those respondents would be routed to branching questions asking specifically when they intend to purchase, how much they intend to spend, etc. Those respondents not expressing a desire to make a purchase would not be asked these branching questions. Pollster® has a branching feature that automatically performs this function.

What is a frequent cause of poll or survey bias?

Poll or survey bias is usually defined as the systematic over/under representation of certain answers or kinds of people in the poll. Bias can occur when information is miscalculated or miscounted. Bias can result when the pollster asks questions in a manner, whether in tone or content, tending to produce certain results. Pollster® asks the questions the same way every time, and automatically calculates the results, thus eliminating much of the bias which occurs in traditional polling methods.

What is ‘Acquiescence bias’?

“Acquiescence bias” is a term which describes the tendency of respondents to select certain responses to questions with certain formats, or agree with questions on which they don’t have an opinion. For example, with questions having multiple responses, there can be a tendency to select the first choice presented.

When asking questions with multiple responses or choices, Pollster®’s rotating response feature helps eliminate this bias by rotating the order in which each response in presented to respondents.

What features does Pollster® have that assists with random sampling?

Pollster® has random sampling features. The system does it for you by random selection of area codes, prefixes, and extension numbers for automated dialing, enabling you to automatically conduct polls and surveys:

  • Nationwide
  • Within states you specify
  • Within counties and zip codes you specify
  • Within area codes you specify
  • Within area code prefixes you specify
  • From your own list of phone numbers you import into Pollster®

Does Pollster® perform tracking polls?

Tracking polls are usually conducted within relatively short time periods (often at established time intervals) and are useful in determining (or tracking) the development or persistence of opinion on certain issues, preferences, etc. Pollster® lets you easily conduct tracking polls, so that you can compare the ongoing results.

What percentage of those persons contacted respond to a Pollster® poll or survey?

Depending on the time of day in which the poll is conducted and the validity of the phone list, between 10% and 20% can be expected to respond to a Pollster® poll or survey. If a recognizable organization (such as print or broadcast media) or person is identified as the pollster, it is not uncommon for the percent of respondents to double.

Is Pollster® subject to ‘no-call list’ restrictions?

Legitimate polling and surveying is specifically excluded by the FCC from “No-Call List” restrictions. The maker of Pollster® was specifically footnoted by the FCC when addressing this exclusion.

Can real-time results be displayed while polling?

Pollster® can display poll results on computer screens and monitors, e.g., during TV broadcasts, as the poll is being conducted. At the conclusion of the poll or survey, camera-ready graphics and charts can be generated to display the final results.

In addition to automated polling and surveying, what other valuable features does Pollster® include?

  • Pollster includes a built in data base of over 100 MILLION PHONE NUMBERS, sortable by region, state, city, county and zip code.
  • Pollster® automatically formats your telephone lists. Many phone lists contain other information such as addresses, contact persons, etc. When you import your telephone list into Pollster®, the system automatically formats the list, eliminating the necessity of manually extracting the phone numbers from the list, saving valuable time and expense.
  • Pollster® retains the telephone numbers of respondents or identified subgroups for further telephone contact.
  • If you import your own list of telephone numbers and mailing list data, Pollster® can automatically create mailing lists of respondents or identified subgroups for further contact by mail.
  • Poll or surveys questions can be recorded using a microphone or imported from external voice files.

What is Pollster® Count?

Pollster® Count is the number of individual surveys you purchase in order to conduct your opinion polls or research. As you conduct your poll, Pollster® will decrement your total count for each respondent contacted who responds to at least one of your poll questions. Pollster® does not decrement your count for any call attempt which is not answered or in which the respondent does not respond to at least one poll question.

In other words, you successfully use each and every “count” you buy. Unlike traditional polling methods, you don’t pay expensive labor costs for time spent making unsuccessful attempts to contact respondents. You don’t pay for unsuccessful attempts in which respondents don’t respond to at least one question.

If you use Pollster® to simply communicate a recorded message to the respondent (i.e., asking no questions requiring a response), your count will be decremented when your message plays.

You purchase your Pollster® Count when you buy the Pollster® system and as you continue to use Pollster® to conduct your opinion polls and research. For example, if you wish to conduct a poll contacting 1,000 respondents, you need to purchase Pollster® Count of 1,000. Be sure to purchase sufficient count to meet your planned polling needs.

Pollster® Count can be purchased online 24/7 at our website or by calling us during business hours at 1-87-POLLSTER.