How To Create Polling Questions That Work

QuestionsPoll questions are all about excellent communication. A well-written question will deliver a genuine, precise answer where a poorly-written one will result in an answer you only think is genuine and precise.

Save time and money following these tips before you conduct your poll or survey of 800 to 1,000 respondents.

Here are 3 tips to writing the most effective questions.

1. Let’s be clear about this
“To be able to ask a question clearly is two thirds of the way to getting it answered.” – John Ruskin

No matter where you are from or what line of work you are in, slang terms abound in every conversation.

A word or phrase you use in daily life may be foreign to the one reading it, thus causing confusion in the respondent and resulting in a confused answer.

Another way to cause confusion is to ask a question within a question.

An example of this is: “Do you favor removal of long serving elected officials from office through the use of term limits?” By responding “no” to this question, the respondent may be referring to not favoring term limits or to not favoring the removal of long-serving elected officials. Separate these subjects into different questions.

2. Assume Nothing
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

Do not assume to know the respondents behavior patterns.

For instance, asking: “What TV shows do you watch when you get home from work?” is assuming they watch TV, they work outside of the home, and they watch TV specifically when they get home from work.

A better question would be to ask: “Do you watch TV in the evening?” If the answer is “yes,” then direct them to more specific questions.

Assuming to know their basic beliefs or knowledge base is another pitfall. Asking: “Do you think the government should extend real estate taxes to further fund the school system?” is confusing. A “No” answer could mean “No, I don’t want to further fund the school system,” or “No, I do not want to extend real-estate taxes.”

3. No weapons allowed
“If you just communicate you can get by. But if you skillfully communicate, you can work miracles.” – Jim Rohn

Like a loaded gun, a loaded question or response choice is a dangerous thing. It can push a respondent towards an answer they don’t mean. And that defeats the purpose of polling them in the first place. Asking: “Do you plan to vote for the incumbent, Senator Jack Jones, or the challenger Joe Plumber?”

Using the words “incumbent” and “challenger” could sway their response or even anger them. Questions should be asked in a such a way that presents all choices in as balanced a manner as possible.

Above all, you want the respondent to answer sincerely so that your poll is as effective as possible. Lee Iacocca said it best, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Better Information, Better Decisions
If you follow these rules, the resulting information will help you make informed decisions with the best, most accurate data available. And, your polling time and money will be well spent.

Get started today
When you’re ready to start your next poll, contact Pollster to get the information you need quickly, accurately, and easily. Give us a call: 1.877.655.7837