Polity by Rob Salmond

Read Post

Polity: Four thoughts on polling in Wellington’s mayoral election

26 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

  • Hilary Stace,

    Can you explain robopolling a bit more?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Can you explain robopolling a bit more?

    Sure. Instead of a live operator asking you questions and noting down your responses, a pre-recorded voice says things like "If you're planning to vote Labour, press 1. For National, press 2, etc. Then the robopoll records your touch tone responses.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Thanks. I wonder if it encourages or discourages participation. For example, I usually answer phone surveys in case they are poor solo mothers getting paid per response, but can feel resentful at the time it takes. But on the other hand if you know it is anonymous and quick you might be likely to respond, and be more honest.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I wonder if it encourages or discourages participation.

    Robopoll response rates are usually lower than live operator polls, but the per-call cost on robopolls is so low that it actually has better cost-effectiveness.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger,

    How do robopolls select for people in the house or do they just take whoever answers the phone?

    I'm guessing they take whoever answers, which in this case is ok since voter turnout and phone responders are biased in the same direction - white, female and older.

    It would be pretty time consuming way to poll in Maori electorates.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    what will Labour do to help call centre operators who have lost their positions as a result of this new automation?

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    I like taking part in phone polling when I have the time (sometimes it’s inconvenient)… and I 100% hang up on automated calls as soon as I determine they are recordings and not a live human… I don’t care how worthy they may be (I don’t wait to find out…)

    I can see an opening for human initiated phone contact polling, where you get passed over to the automated questions/response once the respondee has agreed to take part… it might even seem better to the respondee (me?) because you don’t feel like your answers are being judged by the person on the other end, and the asked questions will have less of the “I’ve asked this same question 100 times already today” tone in the voice…

    It would cost more than 100% automated... but the employee calling targets can get onto making the next call to the next target while the machine takes the next 5-20 mins taking my responses...

    P.S. whether it's phone or internet surveys... dont bullshit with the "this will just take 5 mins" when you know it's going to be 15-20.... that really pisses me off and makes me less likely to tale part next time.... You cant even ask all those questions in 5 mins, let alone expect me to respond after a few seconds consideration...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 887 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to mpledger,

    How do robopolls select for people in the house or do they just take whoever answers the phone?

    Technique differs by firm, but the most common practice is to take whoever answers the phone.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to FletcherB,

    whether it’s phone or internet surveys… dont bullshit with the “this will just take 5 mins”

    For Labour's robopolls we announced the exact number of questions to the person as well as the time, and had the whole interaction down to 90 seconds. We announced that timing accurately at the start of the call.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    I'm guessing that this misses an awful lot of mobile-phone-only voters, based purely on no-one in the office ever having been called. Technically we have a landline, and I believe there's even a phone we could plug into it in one of the boxes in the garage. But ringing that number isn't going to get you anywhere (Hellstra charge less for an internet+phone deal than internet alone).

    So, question: how do pollster obtain phone numbers? Random dialling would seem likely to pester a fuckton of people for every successful call, to the point where I expect it would be banned (Wellington has about 1/10th of NZ/s population, of whom 2/3rds might be eligible, and half of those vote... 30 calls per voter).

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I guess the issue is that you get a sample of people that respond to your polling which isn't congruent with the people that vote.

    Does robopolling acquire any demographics? It would seem hard to (beyond simple stuff like analysing address, name, maybe age if you have the electoral roll - is a candidate allowed to provide their electoral roll data to a contracted polling company?)

    Once you've got this, the special sauce is in how you compensate for the sample - and if there's a big pool of voters where you have a miniscule amount of data (voters with no answered landline) then there's a question as to how much the knowledge you do have tells you about the unpolled groups.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Does robopolling acquire any demographics?

    Well, you can ask demographic questions. One of the answers can be "I don't want to answer this question". But you do presumably want to keep the survey short too, so probably you want to limit the number of options that can be chosen.

    One advantage to robopolling that leaps to my mind is that it's 100% consistent in method, tone, etc.

    Also, it may well have a lesser effect of people lying about embarrassing opinions than you get when you speak to humans.

    I can see why it's used. The price of the staff has to be a huge factor. Seems to give similar result to human robo-callers.

    I’m guessing that this misses an awful lot of mobile-phone-only voters, based purely on no-one in the office ever having been called.

    Yup. But what can anyone do about that? You want to poll opinion, you do it with what you have. It's a whole lot better than nothing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10630 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to BenWilson,

    But what can anyone do about that? You want to poll opinion, you do it with what you have.

    I was asking because I hoped that there was some collection of mobile phones numbers with demographic information attached that pollsters used. Even getting the demographic "will supply a phone number to avoid annoying ads online" is better than the apparent "just ignore people without landlines" approach.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • Son of Dad,

    For the first time in nearly thirty years, I chose not to vote in the local body elections.
    I feel deeply ashamed (and also annoyed) that I felt I could not participate in the democratic process, but I could not, in all conscience, give my support to any of the unctuous candidates for the Wellington mayoralty: there just wasn't sufficient information on their actual policies beyond glib phrases and vague aspirational comments.

    Since Aug 2014 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Son of Dad,

    There were numerous meetings around Wellington and all offered contact details in their ads to ask specific questions or policy positions. I went along to a couple of meetings and asked my questions - things like their position on the Living Wage are actually important for real people's lives. From what I saw they all worked pretty hard at the election process. Unctuous is unfair.

    There was one council candidate I befriended who had no car or computer or election funds and walked between election meetings almost every day over many weeks. That dedication itself justified a vote.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Is it necessary to validate Slater's trashy ramblings by linking to them?

    The lesson? Likely voter screens are hugely important in lower turnout elections.

    What measurable metrics are used to determine likely voters?

    Can it be narrowed down to determine likely swing voters, so that everyone else doesn't have to be bothered by annoying phone calls? Maybe not so far as to completely avoid the election. :P

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to izogi,

    Slater's trashy ramblings

    how is that slob still out in public?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Moz,

    some collection of mobile phones numbers with demographic information attached that pollsters used.

    Some firms are including mobiles. There are arguments by respected experts in the field that it doesn't make enough of a difference.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to izogi,

    What measurable metrics are used to determine likely voters?

    The “screen” is simply a question fairly early in the sequence asking whether the respondent believes they will vote: if the answer is “no”, then the questionnaire may be terminated at (or shortened from) that point. (N.B. also removes those who will be too young to vote at the time, without asking for exact age.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Sacha,

    A fairly large percentage of active cellphone numbers are electricity meters (most smart meters have a GPRS/3G 'modem' as their comms method and because all GSM endpoints need a number, they have one).

    Still, electricity meters might have more sensible political opinions than many voters.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Thanks for that Sacha. Interesting that it's not about cost, but actually about the statistical validity and complexity.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10630 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    In an aside to the Mayoralty race in Wellington, we now have an official city scientist! New councillor, Peter Gilberd, has a PhD in physics and used to administer the Royal Society's Marsden Fund. We might even get a council supported science seminar series.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/85561687/new-city-ambassador-and-scientist-roles-as-lester-dishes-out-council-portfolios

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    And an ambassador - with a Ferraro Rocher budget no doubt.. A cynic might think that Woolf is being given unlimited free travel in return for his support on any issues Lester wants votes on.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I thought Public Address had a policy of never direct linking to Mr Slater's site? Or maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • Son of Dad, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Sadly, with a young family and the necessity of making ends meet, I do not enjoy the privilege of having sufficient spare time to attend candidates' meetings. A living wage is important to my real life, and I would have liked to have been able to read what candidates' positions were on such matters.

    Since Aug 2014 • 14 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.