PPP performs automated telephone surveys using Interactive Voice Response (IVR). We can track public opinion more often and on a wider range of issues than by interviewing in-person or via phone, or by mail-in surveys. IVR technology drastically reduces the expense of polling and it allows for faster surveys completions, usually in one evening. Pollsters Survey USA and Rasmussen Reports led the charge nationally for this segment of the polling industry. Public Policy Polling has been the leader in North Carolina since our founding in Raleigh.
In addition to cost and time advantages, IVR technology has helped to poll more accurately. We can reduce interviewer bias to zero by eliminating the live human interviewer. Every poll respondent hears the exact same questions read the exact same way. We also utilize the voter registration database for most of our surveys. Calling only registered or likely voters gives us a much more accurate sample of the target populations for most political and campaign based polling. Following the 2008 U.S. presidential election, an analysis by The Wall Street Journal showed PPP’s swing-state polling was the second most accurate projection, missing the average margin of victory by only +/-1.04 percentage points.
Finally, IVR may be used by survey organizations for asking more sensitive questions where the investigators are concerned that a respondent might feel less comfortable providing these answers to a human interlocutor (such as questions about drug use or sexual behavior). In some cases an IVR system can be used in the same survey in conjunction with a human interviewer. For example, during the survey the interviewer might inform the respondent that for the next series of questions they will be sent to an IVR system to continue or complete the interview.