mumble



WWW
 
mumble

home

2007 election links

poll-mix

about

  email: elect AT
mumble.com.au

seat 2pp graphs '07

Seats to watch!

Federal pendulum (old)

margins since 1983

Historical results

Margins 1949  2001

See the lemmings!

two decades of Newspolls

state votes at federal elections

Votes and seat
representation
1949 - 2001

Newspoll
preferences


Newspoll &
Morgan graphs

preferential voting

Newspoll Opposition leader approval ratings

Newspoll Opposition voting intentions

 

 

Published in Crikey, June 19 2007

12. Polls: publicity you couldnít buy

Peter Brent from Mumble Elections writes:

As yesterdayís double whammy of ACNielsen and Newspoll showed, opinion polls are big news. They get page one placement in the papers, overflowing to comment by journalistic heavy hitters and often the pollsters themselves.

Of course, everyone involved knows itís all a bit of a try-on, and that individual surveys donít mean that much. But people like to read them, they cost a lot to produce and the rest follows suit.

What does an opinion poll cost to produce? Itís an industry secret, but we can do some simple sums. My understanding is that a telephone interviewer can generally get about 3 or 4 completed interviews per hour. If each is paid, say, $17 an hour, then a survey of a thousand people might cost around $5-6,000 in wages. Throw in a telephone bill of about a grand; because for every successful call there are probably at least five that arenít - heating, lights, supervisorís wage, you might get about $7-8k.

But suggest that figure to a pollster (as I did) and youíll be laughed at (as I was), because it ignores the other costs of running the business: salaries, building rental, advertising, computers, software development, superannuation and so on. Maybe you could call $8k the marginal cost. The real price is two or three times that.

A survey of about 1,000 people might retail for about $20k. But the newspapers generally donít pay top dollar for them. (The exception, apparently, is the Oz and Newspoll, but News Ltd owns one and half owns the other, and so some of it comes back in a profit dividend.)

The pollsters usually sell them cheap because they crave the publicity. In fact some low profile marketers practically give them away, and they are more able to do this if samples are tiny and/or the questions are tacked on the end of another survey paid for by someone else.

Look at it this way. The Australian Market and Social Research Society lists 280 companies. If you were looking to use a market researcher, which ones would you have heard of? Exactly.

Consider the publicity Galaxy has generated over the last fortnight alone. You just canít buy that -- but with placement in a high profile newspaper, and PR rampaging around all corners of the media, you donít have to.

external links
these open new windows

Electoral Commissions
Federal
NSW
    Vic 
Qld WA SA
 
Tas ACT NT
ECA


Parliaments
Federal
NSW
    Vic 
Qld WA SA
 
Tas ACT NT

Electoral

Antony Green (ABC)
Adam Carr
Bullring
Crikey 
Simon Jackman  
Oz politics
Poll bludger
Possums Politics
Upper House

Other

Enrolling the People
Crikey blog
Piping Shrike
Andrew Leigh
Rick Hasen (US)
Oxfam Shop
Australian Constitution
Democratic Audit
Nicholson cartoons
 -
animations

Newspoll

Morgan

WA Uni
election database

Distance Learning