Distinguishing Polls from Surveys; Their Uses and Significance

While the terms poll and survey are often used interchangeably, there is still confusion on whether the two words denote the same meaning and significance.

Yet if polls and surveys are not the same, what makes one distinct from the other?

Understanding the Key Differences between Polls and Surveys

While both polls and surveys use one or more questions in gathering information from individuals, the number of questions used also pose as a difference.

What is a Poll?

A poll determines people’s choices but using only one simple question to understand what works for the general public. The main objective is to measure the success of a particular undertaking, such as an event, an initiative or a program. That being the case, polls are carried out severally and in various stages. This denotes that for one specific question, multiple polls can be conducted at intervals to keep track of developments, while the subject of the poll advances toward completion.

Technically, a nationally held election is a type of poll, as the overall result is in response to one particular question that determines the candidate preferred by the majority of voters. Similarly, a referendum is also a poll to which the people’s Yes or No votes for a particular government undertaking will be the deciding factor on whether a program or initiative will be adopted. .

What is a Survey

A survey collects information from different groups of people, hics, as a means to generalize as well as categorize the answers to a questionnaire according to demographics. As opposed to a poll, a survey asks multiple questions to cover a broader inquiry over a particular subject. The main objective in conducting a survey is to gather insights about the choices, preferences and even experiences of the group of individuals participating in a specific survey.

Unlike polls, thousands of surveys are conducted every year and in different formats by information businesses, for use of different government agencies and private organizations, including media platforms and academic institutions. Mainly because the ultimate purpose is to use the information gathered as bases for making improvements, or in formulating solutions that work for the common good of consumers, end-users or any group of people who will benefit from the subject under survey or study.

Generally, market researchers use surveys in mapping out and carrying different marketing and promotional strategies. Providers, innovators and manufacturers on the other hand, can use survey information in introducing or developing new products and services. That is why surveys that include obtaining the name, address and email address of responders are more useful.

To encourage survey participation among consumers, business establishments or organizations, through their marketing arm, offer incentives in the form of freebies or discounts That way, consumers will be willing to register by providing their name, address or email address in order to claim a survey reward.