Sunday, February 21, 2016

Don’t Let Polls Mislead Your Association's Actions

While facilitating an association board workshop Friday, I shared that 9.2% of their members answered in a specific way ... then, I let them know that for this question, 9.2% was only one member!

Associations reading surveys need to be careful what they discover and the decisions they make.

The headlines from Saturday’s South Carolina primary and Nevada caucuses show that the news media suffers from misperceptions arising from polling.

For example, they reported that Hillary Clinton had a “big 5% win” in the Nevada caucus and that Marco Rubio had “narrowly” finished second to Ted Cruz.

Interestingly, Clinton’s big 5.5% win was actually only 647 votes over Bernie Sanders while Rubio’s narrow finish was really 1,091 votes over Cruz. (By the way, using the media’s version of covering polls, that means Rubio’s win was 25.5% more than Clinton’s win.)

I’ve found it more accurate and reflective when you share both percentage and raw numbers.

Associations seeking understanding about member attitudes should do likewise.

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