Poll Design 101: An Interview with John Zogby

The PollQ team was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with our beta tester, John Zogby, founder of the world-famous Zogby Poll and the Zogby companies for a discussion of polling strategies and best practices.

What are some of the elements that go into creating a great poll question?

Good questions need to offer choices. Instead of asking respondents if they agree, you have to offer "agree or disagree", "support or oppose, etc. Balance and symmetry are also important. I like questions that pose two statements and ask which one is closer to the respondent's own views. Questions should also reveal a core value, not simply a policy or preference. Placement is also key. Don't ask controversial questions up front. Better to wait.

What type of demographic information is the most important to collect?

Age, gender, religious affiliation, educational level achieved -- these are always key. But I also look for new cohorts -- Weekly Wal-Mart Shoppers, NASCAR Fans, members of the Investor Class and the Creative Class. These are always revealing. These days we are working non-stop on membership in "Neo-Tribes" -- self-identified groupings by personality, values, and aspirations. We are finding that these help us understand behaviors and motivations even better than demographics.

When analyzing poll results, what are some key strategies you use for filtering the data?

Context and values are always important. Where are the trend lines? What direction are things going? Everywhere I go I am asked why the polls were "so wrong" in 2016. I tell audiences that actually the polls were quite good. The direction signals were pretty clear, both nationally and in the battleground states. So I try to divorce myself from preconceptions and let the data talk to me.

What's next for John Zogby Strategies and how can our community support your work?

The Zogby Companies have always put a premium on innovation in data collection and analysis. We think that PollQ could be the next "wave" in collection devices. We look forward to employing the PollQ "bot" in social media platforms as they're now becoming the best arenas in which to collect and analyze opinions and high volumes of data.  

Since 2009, we've been engaged on a journey to find America's "Neo-Tribes"(SM) and using survey research to allow people to tell their stories and identify these tribes. We're now ready to take the survey component of this continuing research into social media to obtain tens of thousands of tribal members and discover emerging tribes.  

My new book on Tribal Analytics(SM) and the Neo-Tribes is doing quite well. We're putting finishing touches on client services that can make use of Tribal Analytics(SM). We'll be launching our new product on the Neo-Tribes very soon and it will be most helpful to professionals in marketing, human resources, law, educational placement, health care, and other fields. Segmenting employees, consumers, jurors, hospital patients, board members isn't a new phenomenon, but the values and aspirations we find on a granular level in our Tribes allow professionals to find the optimum leaders, team players, risk-takers, dreamers, the ambitious, as well as the right chemistry for individuals. At the same time, there are common messages that can bridge members of otherwise divergent Tribes. We're excited about all these findings!

John Zogby's book is available now: We are Many, We are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America. It presents a new tool to help fit individuals into the changing workplace. This technique can be equally helpful to political strategists, religious leaders, career counselors, brand managers and marketers.

You can try John Zogby's beta polling group on PollQ by clicking here on your smartphone to open the poll in Messenger.

John Zogby, founder of the “Zogby Poll” and the Zogby companies, is an internationally respected pollster, opinion leader and best-selling author. He has joined with his sons Benjamin and Jeremy in a new company called John Zogby Strategies, a strategic visioning firm specializing in preparing companies and agencies for the coming wave of dynamic changes. A much sought-after speaker, he is represented by the American Program Bureau of Boston. Zogby is also the inaugural Director of the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship at his alma mater, Le Moyne College.