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Polco News & Knowledge

Do Election Seasons Hurt Citizen Survey Responses?


National election season can feel hectic for citizens and municipalities as the country prepares to transition into new leadership.  As residents see an influx of campaign related materials in their mail, phone calls and emails, many jurisdictions wonder if this can hurt their community survey responses.  We asked NRC Survey Consultant Morgan Adams to shed some light on the issue in this episode of NRC Q&A, and her answer may surprise you.  Adams also reveals what the worst time of year to survey citizens actually is.



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Clearly Marked Mailings 
Mailings from National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) are marked clearly as coming from the local government organization.  This means they don’t look political in nature and residents are more likely to open those letters.

No Effect 
NRC does not typically see national elections have any significant effect on citizen survey response rates.

Competing Events and Controversy 
If a citizen survey asks questions that are more topical, timely or controversial, NRC recommends gathering opinions from the community before or after that competing event has ramped up.

What About the Holidays? 
The one time of year that NRC does not recommend surveying residents is the holiday season.  Residents are less available to respond to surveys during winter holidays, so we suggest timing the data collection period to end before Thanksgiving or start after well after Christmas.


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