Split Ballot Question

Survey Analytics Split-ballot questions allows assessments of the different question formats and new question construction can substitute for the old with little loss of meaning.

It is used in surveys of opinion which is to divide a sample into two and ask each half sample the same question but worded differently.

Survey Analytics Survey results may be affected by response bias, where the answers given by respondents do not reflect their true beliefs. This may be deliberately engineered by unscrupulous pollsters in order to generate a certain result or please their clients, but more often is a result of the detailed wording or ordering of questions.

Respondents may deliberately try to manipulate the outcome of a poll by e.g. advocating a more extreme position than they actually hold in order to boost their side of the argument or give rapid and ill-considered answers in order to hasten the end of their questioning. Respondents may also feel under social pressure not to give an unpopular answer. For example, respondents might be unwilling to admit to unpopular attitudes like racism and thus polls might not reflect the true incidence of these attitudes in the population.If the results of surveys are widely publicized this effect may be magnified - a phenomenon commonly referred to as the spiral of silence.

If there are many questions, the pattern of votes on a single ballot may uniquely identify a voter, hence tallying the questions together may violate voter privacy. In this case,the tally protocol should be performed separately for each question (or for each small group).

Split Ballot Surveys

Three aspects of the most important problem question used in agenda-setting research to measure issue salience among the public were examined. A split-ballot in a state-wide survey compared versions of the public agenda with a social frame of reference versus a personal frame of reference, versions using the traditional term problem versus issue, and the effects of question order. High correlations between the different versions were found in all three sets of comparisons.

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Related Links and Resources

  • Split Ballot Design 
  • Split Ballot Question 
  • Split Ballot Survey 
  • Split Ballot Technique 
  • Split Ballot Testing 
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