Surveys are at the heart of North Star’s research.  They answer the most basic question for any campaign or organization, “What do people think?”

The best surveys go well beyond the horse-race questions of who is ahead or behind on the ballot test.  Trust us, we know the ballot test is ultimately what gets the focus.  After all, we wouldn’t be conducting surveys if not for the competition.

But in a political or public-affairs campaign, the horse-race questions — whether a ballot test or a support/oppose on an issue — is best used as a means to provide context for the other results.  What do our supporters think about immigration policy?  What do undecided voters say about this aspect of health care reform?  With those questions answered, we can help formulate a winning message.

Usually, those questions are answered the traditional way: on a landline telephone.  But those telephone calls are increasingly conducted on cell phones to make sure we’re talking to everyone, whether they’ve cut-the-cord or not.  And under some circumstances — with a good list of the target audience, or in the case of needing to test visuals — an online survey is the way to go.  Client need drives both the questionnaire design and the survey methodology as well.