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Why telephone polling used to be the best and why it’s dying out

The odds are that, at some point in your life, a polling firm has tried to contact you over the telephone to take part in a survey. The odds are even better that the attempt failed. You were not home, you did not take the call, or you just hung up. This is what happens with roughly nine out of every 10 phone calls a polling firm makes.

And yet, in this time of decreasing response rates, the pressure on polling firms could not be any higher. Polls need to be done more cheaply and more quickly than ever before, and in the Information Age the microscope is as close as it gets. The pay-off is slim – literally, as well as figuratively. The results of a poll are discarded as soon as the next numbers are out or they are subsumed into some aggregator’s formula. If the pollster is wrong, they are thrown under the bus by everyone – including the media outlet that could not afford to pay for a proper poll in the first place.

Read the full article on The Globe and Mail