How Do Online Polls Work?


Quick Answer

Online polls work by compiling opinions from respondents that voluntarily answer a survey question or series of questions promoted via social media or through some relevant website. Online polls can be hosted and executed by third-party polling sites or created for specific purposes.

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Full Answer

Online polls sometimes use information about respondents' identities in data collection, in which case a few basic questions about the respondent are asked in addition to the topical questions. Many sources prefer to gather research information using online polls because they are automated, easy to create and execute, and because multimedia sources can be integrated into the survey process, such as a question in the form of a video. Online polls posted in areas of high web traffic assure that researchers receive a high number of respondents, and online polls generally are able to tabulate data in raw numbers, percentages and amongst different variables quickly and easily.

Often online polls are subject to potentially high levels of error because they select convenience samples of the population rather than sampling randomly. Additionally, online polls disregard populations that don't use the Internet or don't frequent certain sites where polls are available. Many sources such as Rasmussen and the Pew Center attempt to use controlled variables in sampling to reduce potential error.

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