Category Archives: Zogby

Yet Another Example of How Not To Use The Internet To Conduct Research

(edit, April 6, 2011: Over a year since I posted this, and I just took another Zogby poll (now an “Ibope Zogby poll,” by the way), and they’re still asking this question the same way. And I still, despite being pretty politically aware, knowing my congressman’s name, and having even written the guy and gotten a response on at least one occasion, have absolutely no idea what district number I live in. Everything below this parenthetical addition is old content, so if you have seen it before, sorry.)

This is from a couple of weeks ago, and I’m just now getting a chance to post it.

88% of Americans live in a state with fewer than 53 US congressional districts in it. Only California has that many; Texas comes in second with 32.

And yet, here’s how the good folks at Zogby Interactive ask what congressional district you live in:

That’s right. Zogby asks what state you live in, and then asks you, regardless of how many districts your state contains, which of 53 districts you live in. This is terrible for a lot of reasons, beginning with what should be obvious to everyone: it’s really lazy.

Looking at this from a practical political standpoint, though, it’s a mess. Folks just don’t think about their congressional district that way. Many (certainly not all) will know the name of their representative — or at least be able to pick the name from a short list of possibilities — but the odds of them knowing the actual district number aren’t great.

That being said: it can be problematic to ask people who their representative is if you’re then going to ask them if they’re going to vote for that person — it creates a priming effect and reminds (or informs, if the respondent is less focused on politics) of incumbency and makes it difficult to do a clean “would you vote for x or y” question. While I didn’t get that question as a follow-up, it’s possible some respondents did, though I somewhat doubt it this far out.

A much better way to ask this question is to ask for zip code, which will let you look up the right district in most cases; a simpler method (for the respondent), and one that might feel less personally intrusive, is to remember that this is the internet and present a state map, on which the respondent can zoom in and actually CLICK WHERE HE LIVES.

And, saying what should be obvious, but maybe isn’t: if you structure your research in such a way that only the very very very top-most super-engaged respondents are qualified to answer a follow-up, your results are only going to reflect that tiny slice of the population.

Pathetic, and sadly, about what one would expect.

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Filed under abject stupidity, bad user experiences, databases are your friend, election polling, Market Research, Politics, quality of responses, the web is a visual medium, Zogby

Resident of What, Now?

Does anyone else have trouble answering this? I see it on nearly every Zogby Interactive poll I get, and I never know what to do with it:

zogby citizen

I just don’t get it.

Maybe I’m overthinking it — it happens — but I can’t figure out exactly what the underlying idea of the question is. I get why he asks if I have a passport, if I watch NASCAR, and how often I shop at Wal*Mart — it’s his “elites vs. normals” crosstabs, or whatever, and I assume this is supposed to be the same sort of thing, but I can’t figure it out.

Worse, I think the one choice I WOULD pick — that I think of myself as a resident of a particular region of the United States — isn’t listed.

Anyway, just wondering if anyone else is over-thinking this one and has trouble answering it as well.


Filed under answer choices, Market Research, web research, Zogby

Zogby Motorcycle Emptiness

What fresh hell is this? John Zogby has discovered the matrix? And somehow made it uglier than any other matrix in the history of research? All true, and more on that in a moment, but first, this unusual use of the ticky box:

zogby motorcycles

That’s probably illegible unless you click on it, but the gist is I’m being asked, in a pretty wordy fashion at that, which of the following things I’m interested in or knowledgeable about; nothing inherently wrong with that setup, except this: I’m then given exactly one box to check (or not check, as the case may be) : “motorcycles.”

Let’s type it out and count, OK?

John’s Way: (53 words)

“Now for some questions about consumer goods categories. Please choose the categories in which you feel you have a particular interest and knowledge. This means you actively seek out information on these products and services (for example you watch TV shows/read magazines and websites/attend exhibitions/discuss with friends and colleagues etc.)

My Way: (6 words)

“How interested are you in motorcycles?”

Now, it’s possible the reason I only saw the single checkbox for motorcycles is because my answers to the previous series of questions disqualified me from everything else, although I don’t really think my responses would have pointed in the direction of motorcycles,  but who am I to judge? Anyway, as promised, here’s what the first screen of these looked like:

zogby matrix

Maybe I shouldn’t say this is uglier than any other matrix — maybe it’s just that it’s simpler, in that it uses less newfangled HTML and is therefore, I don’t know, easier to access via mobile browsers, which isn’t a bad design goal to have — it’s just very strange looking to me, and pretty hard to take in at a glance. By the time you get down to the last button on the right, it’s not immediately obvious to me if that “1” radio button is for “Pessimistic” or for some other word that I perhaps need to scroll down for, or that’s just not appearing for some reason.

Are mobile/degraded browsers a big factor in the panel research industry? Are there a lot of folks on the Greenfield panel using Netscape 2.0 on Mac IIci’s or something? Because I seriously don’t get why this hasn’t all been replaced — and I’m talking about everyone here, not just Zogby — with some well-designed Flash code. Seems to me a freshman design student could pretty quickly mock up something vastly superior to anything being used in the industry today, no?

One other thing I found interesting: on some (but not all) screens of this survey, when I clicked the final radio button, I was automatically advanced to the next page. Despite the pages having a “continue” button on them, by the way. I don’t have a problem with auto-advancing in general, though I think it needs to either consistently happen 100% of the time or 0% of the time — but I’m curious what y’all think about it. Is the auto-advance, which would make it difficult or impossible to go back and fix an error you made, a good thing or a bad thing?


Filed under answer choices, bad user experiences, Market Research, matrixes make me cry, the web is a visual medium, web research, Zogby

Meanwhile, Deep in John Zogby’s Secret Underground Lair/Science Lab…

I’m not the first one to see this, but that never stopped me before; everyone loves a good dogpile.

The Borg Collective fine people at Zogby Interactive just asked me this interesting set of questions:

zogby chip

What the hell are they working on up there in Utica?


Filed under Market Research, web research, what, Zogby

Why We Fight

I think I need the occasional reminder that the point of this isn’t so much to point and laugh at Greenfield and other worthy targets, but instead that bad research needs to be eliminated, because it actually hurts us all.

What’s the long-term effect of Greenfield getting respondents to take survey after survey, in a never-ending chain of sweepstakes entries?

What’s the long-term effect of Polling Point asking respondents to mark screen after screen of company names as green or red?

What’s the long-term effect of untrained telemarketers asking respondents who they’ll vote for — and mispronouncing the name of each candidate?

What’s the long-term effect of Zogby’s willingness to get in bed with and take research on just about any topic for just about any client?

As the pool of willing cooperators dwindles, how much longer can we rely on the remaining respondents to fill in the gaps?

Short-term, there are ways to compensate, but at some point, we’re going to regret that we let this go on as long as we did.

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Filed under bad user experiences, election polling, Greenfield, Market Research, Polling Point, Public Opinion Polling, Zogby

What the Hell is This About?

I can’t figure out why Zogby is asking this; I’m not aware of either candidate having anything specific to say about either steroids or tort reform, and I’m really pretty sure that if they had spoken about steroids, they’ve have been on the same side of the issue, no?



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Filed under election polling, Public Opinion Polling, what, Zogby