Yahoo, Associated Press Team For Polling
Findings from the first of the "Political Pulse" surveys launched in partnership with The Associated Press debuted earlier this week. While Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani were seen as having the best chance of winning their respective parties' nominations, they weren't necessarily the candidates that voters want go bowling or on vacation with.
Questions in the poll about candidates' likeability reflect the initiative's emphasis on subjective factors that could affect the outcome of the election. "It's not just about the candidates but the political sphere as a whole," says Ezra Palmer, managing editor of Yahoo News. "We're trying to tap into the personal side of the political sphere--how your personal happiness or spirituality or religion is tied to the political scene."
Rather than surveying Yahoo users, polling is conducted by research firm Knowledge Networks, drawing on a panel of 2,000 randomly selected people designed to be representative of the U.S. population. However, Yahoo users can complete an online poll to compare their answers with those of the poll results.
Yahoo will conduct eight polls during the next year, with results from the next one to be released at the end of December. Palmer says the focus of the next poll has not yet been decided. He adds that flexibility is built into the polling process, so that surveys can be adapted to trends that emerge during the election year.
"One of the cool things about the poll is that as themes emerge--think of soccer moms or NASCAR dads in previous elections--then we'll be able to dig into that theme," Palmer says. AP stories based on poll findings will appear on Yahoo's new Political Pulse section and on regular AP political news outlets.
The polling efforts are among Yahoo's latest efforts to bolster its election-year content. The Web portal recently co-hosted a Presidential Mashup Debate in which users were able to compare and contrast segments of online video interviews of the Democratic candidates conducted by Charlie Rose. The issues discussed were chosen by Yahoo users.
The mashup debate, however, failed to generate the buzz surrounding the earlier CNN/YouTube Democratic debate. Palmer says Yahoo is trying to organize a Republican mashup debate, but no date has been set.