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View Diary: Two Focus Groups (On Barack's Acceptance Speech and Sarah Palin) Updated (279 comments)

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  •  I saw a part of the AARP focus on CSpan (5+ / 0-)
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    javelina, sherlyle, EquiStar, bfbenn, Amber6541

    The one thing I disliked the most about the whole thing was how the coordinator kept trying to pigeon hole people on any particular issue.  "experience vs accountability vs judgment"  We all know that you will never find one person who agrees with any candidate on every issue.  It's always a blend of a large scale of topics.  I don't agree with Obama on a number of issues, but he's most definitely closer to me than McSame can ever be.

    We are not princes of the earth, we are descendants of worms. Nobility must be earned. - PZ Myers

    by Mercuriousss on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 10:07:29 AM PDT

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    •  That is the point though (1+ / 0-)
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      The AARP or whomever needs to know what people mean when they say accountability.  Imagine doing a play test where all the participants said was "the game should be fun!".  You have to keep prodding them to tell you what they mean by "fun".  The participants saying "the person needs to be accountable" is just as helpful to improving the "product" as somebody saying "the phone needs to be easy to use" or "the game should be fun".  What do you mean when you say "the candidate should be accountable"?

    •  I noticed that too (1+ / 0-)
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      And I can't help but wondering - where do they find these people?
      I don't mean to sound "elitist", but what would motivate people to participate in one of these focus groups?
      I've always thought that basing strategy on these groups is an iffy proposition at best.  Tactics maybe, but your strategy?  Yet that seems to be exactly what McCain's campaign is doing.
      I'm sure I'm not the only one who hangs up on ANY robocall, and don't give much more respect to live callers of this ilk.  I can't imagine what would motivate me to participate in a "focus group" for something this important, much less what spokesperson or box design I prefer for that tasty new cereal or bottled water product.
      I'm absolutely convinced that this dynamic has as much to do with skewing poll results as does the lack of a land line with some demographic segments.  I know I've seen a diary or two indicating that the percentage having a cell as their only phone does not skew the results, but how about the percentage of people that "opt out" of the whole polling/marketing paradigm?  The combination of these things just HAS to mean something in terms of the accuracy of the results, doesn't it?  How many people will they actually contact to get a survey size of 1,000 people?
      Unfortunately, could it be that what DOES reinforce the accuracy of polls is the reporting or interpretation?  Does the prediction of the poll reinforce the conventional wisdom such that the prediction of the poll proves to be accurate?

      As you say, there is NO perfect candidate, there's always something to disagree with - I try to consider that when making a decision.  I really thought that's what you're supposed to do!

      Geez, that looks pretentious, but maybe someone gets my point?  The time for tactics is a few days before the election.  This is a period for implementing a longer term strategy, and all we ever get from McCain are these publicity stunts.  The Obama campaign seems to get that whole strategery thing...

      "The Attorney General underwent surgery to remove a faulty gall bladder...A condition that left his gall completely unmitigated" -Jon Stewart

      by bfbenn on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:09:59 AM PDT

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      •  how it is done (2+ / 0-)
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        oobi, Mercuriousss

        but what would motivate people to participate in one of these focus groups?

        $75->$200 cash, green dollar bills, depending on how long the focus group is.  You show up, they give you pop and free food and you leave with a wad of crisp twenty dollar bills.

        where do they find these people?

        There are companies who specialize in recruiting people for focus groups/usability studies.  You hand them a script (the screener) and they fetch you however many people you need for your study.  You typically pay the recruiting company based on how many people show up.

        I can't imagine what would motivate me to participate in a "focus group" for something this important

        No offense, but they screen specifically for your "type".  And by "type" I mean somebody with especially strong opinions on a topic.  You wouldn't want to have somebody who was a doctor in your focus group for a new brand of herbal cough drops.  If I was doing a focus for a political ad targeting "the average joe", I certainly wouldn't want a person who posted on daily kos in my group... they'd dominate the discussion.  Guess I disqualified myself :-)

        •  jury pool focus groups chosen this way (1+ / 0-)
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          many mock trials are staged in hotel conference rooms under the guise of "focus group"

          Before Jesus, there was love. Without love, there would be no Jesus.

          by oobi on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 12:03:52 PM PDT

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          •  I've been on a medial mock jury (0+ / 0-)

            (Hey, they never asked if I work in Usability ;-).

            It is often cheaper to shell out $10 or $20k on a focus group and decide if you should settle and for what amount then it is to gamble on a verdict.

            In most cases, it is fairly obvious to participants why they are there based on the questions asked and the screener they answered.  Often times the CEO or some big money guy will come out from behind the mirrored glass when it is over and thank everybody.  Usually a "virgin" CEO is very, very stunned and impressed with how useful focus groups/usability studies are.  You learn so much about your product when you do one and usually have so much really, really good ideas to improve things when it is finished.

      •  I think the last time I heard John Zogby (0+ / 0-)

        on TDS he basically said that to get a decent sample for NH they pretty much had to call every household in the state.

        That's how few people actual answer the phone/poll.

        Given how easy it is these days to screen your calls, and how many people work unusual hours/multiple jobs, I'd say that they pretty much only get people who answer every single phone call, without paying attention to who it is.

        Which basically means somebody who's almost completely tech illiterate, or a luddite who refuses to get any new features like caller ID, voicemail, and who won't even buy an answering machine (or use it).

        They're getting a VERY skewed sample in a phone poll.

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