Phone Surveys and Political Polls from Incomplete and Misdialed Calls Prove Potent in Political Polling, Says Wall Street Journal

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Reconnect Research Conducts Surveys Via Misdialed Calls

Research methodology that can successfully (and accurately) complete thousands of phone surveys daily is another tool available for political campaigns this year, thanks to amenable survey subjects who don’t mind participating because they’re already on the phone.

Los Angeles-based Reconnect Research, a marketing research firm that polls those who misdial telephone numbers or reach one that is unavailable because of some network glitch, created that groundbreaking methodology. In October, the Wall Street Journal profiled the role of the industry pioneer in gathering accurate, meaningful data on this year’s candidates and political issues — and effectively solving prevailing problems surrounding other forms of voter research.

Reconnect Research’s methods are now being analyzed by both Pew and research firm RTI International, the story reports, with RTI International Senior Research Statistician Dr. Karol Krotki stating, “Doing this seems to collect an evenly distributed sample that doesn’t require much weighting.”

Reconnect Research, through its national network of phone carriers, has access to a portion of the over 5 billion misdialed, incomplete, disconnected or inbound calls (i.e. MIDI calls) Americans of all demographics make monthly. These are calls that do not complete to their intended destination. The company invites callers to participate in various surveys by simply changing the message telling callers to hang up and try again. People hear a message such as: “Please listen carefully. You now have a choice. Your call couldn’t be completed, EITHER try your call again OR please answer our important national health survey.”

People answer surveys due to the system’s convenience, its lack of intrusiveness, the ability to have their voice heard and sometimes to earn a reward like an Amazon gift card. As this methodology gains acceptance across the research community and the public becomes more aware of it, Reconnect Research anticipates being able to complete millions of surveys monthly.

Such methodology is known as “river sampling” because it’s akin to “collecting whatever swims by,” writes Ryan Knutson in the WSJ article. It’s a proven system: Reconnect Research CEO Scott Richards says company case studies and anecdotal experience show that the people answering the surveys virtually mirror the U.S. Census in terms of both geography and demographics. Since the platform receives 100% inbound calls, the strict FCC regulations on outbound robo-calling cell phones, which is prohibited, don’t apply.

In some cases, those issues are making political polling prohibitively labor intensive and expensive. Pew reports, for example, that its survey costs have risen 75 percent since 2004. It also recently determined only 9 percent of households are now willing to participate in surveys, compared to 36 percent in 1997. Reconnect Research provides one answer.

“Every new communications technology has changed the way surveys operate,” Harvard professor Stephen Ansolabehere told the WSJ. “One approach is to say all these new technologies are untrusted, they’re unproven, let’s just not trust them. And the other approach is: We’ve got to figure out how to use them, because the emergence of these new technologies is making the old ones obsolete.”

About Reconnect Research:
Reconnect Research a subsidiary of Dial800, is connecting people already on the phone with political polls and surveys. The new Inbound Calling Survey platform gives researchers fast, honest answers, while providing an additional revenue stream for carriers, and also as important, it’s a preferred noninvasive method to Robocalls as Consumers choose to participate.

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