What is a Public Opinion Survey?

Chances are you've come across a headline that read something like, "78% of people prefer to drink their coffee hot instead of iced."

This is a result of a public opinion survey or public opinion polling. Brands often utilize this type of market research to make newsworthy headlines and research-driven content.

In this post, we'll define public opinion surveys, show a real-world example of how they are used by brands today, and provide a few best practices when conducting this type of market research.

Are you interested in conducting a public opinion survey? Drive Research can help with that too. Reach out to our team by emailing info@driveresearch.com or complete an online contact form

public opinion surveys | hands with paper signs of thought bubbles | drive research


What is a Public Opinion Survey?

A public opinion survey is a type of market research designed to measure feedback from a general population regarding a topic or series of topics.

Oftentimes brands rely on public opinion survey companies, like Drive Research, to administer polls and repurpose the findings for marketing and public relations deliverables.

For this reason, public opinion polls follow a similar process to omnibus surveys and public relations surveys.

Survey Headline Example of Public Opinion Polling


Why is Public Opinion Polling Beneficial?

Public opinion polling offers several benefits to both B2C and B2B organizations. Our PR polling market research company outlines a few of these advantages below.

Improve brand awareness.

According to this study, articles and media pitches containing exclusive research is the most appealing to journalists.

Public opinion surveys offer high-quality data to include in press releases that will pique the interest of top-media outlets. 

Low-cost market research.

Especially when conducted online, there is perhaps no other market research study that is as cost-effective as PR polling surveys.

The cost of public opinion surveys is based on various factors such as length, number of responses, and targeting criteria. 

Real-time results.

When sharing market research data, it is important it is recent and relevant. Public opinion polling delivers results in as little as 24-hours.

Drive Research provides our clients with an online portal, where they can see up-to-the-second results. As soon as a question is answered, our clients have access to the data.

Take a look at our online portal!

Increased return-on-investment.

The opportunity to repurpose findings from a public opinion survey is endless.

In addition to creating data-driven press releases, results can be used to create blog posts, webinar topics, social media shareables, infographics, whitepapers, and other lead-generating content.

Recommended Reading: Public Relations Surveys: The Secret Weapon of PR Pros


Best Practices for Conducting Public Opinion Polls

This type of market research can be administered in many ways: online, phone, mail, in-person, etc.

While each methodology has its advantages and disadvantages, online surveys are the most common approach for polling the general public. 

As a PR polling market research company, our team understands the little nuances of a public opinion online survey that can impact response rates

Keep a few of these best practices in mind when you are ready to start your market research project for the best results.

Keep the survey short. 

The shorter the survey, the better. You would be surprised at the amount of data you can uncover in under 15-questions.

Keep the survey questions short too. 

Don't use 20 words when you can ask the question in 10. The best rule of thumb is to write public opinion survey questions so well, an 8-year-old can understand and answer them. 

Write each question with a goal in mind. 

When reviewing your survey, make sure the data collected from each question can be repurposed as a headline or as a value add to a thought-leadership piece. 

Steer away from complex question designs.

It is best to stick to multiple-choice or open-ended survey questions. Asking too many grid questions can create a poor user experience, especially if the respondent uses their phone to complete the survey (this is often the case).

Consider partnering with a third-party.

This best practice is essential if you plan to use the public opinion survey results in marketing deliverables. Having a trustworthy, unbiased source conduct the market research adds more validity to the data in readers' eyes.

Recommended Reading: 44 Quick Tips for Online Surveys


Real Examples of a Public Opinion Survey in Action

A home appliance marketer and distributor contacted our market research company to conduct a public opinion survey.

Our client wanted to ask the public one question as it related to their brand. In most cases, Drive Research writes the online survey but we also work with clients that already know what question(s) they want to be answered.

Below is an outline of the project tasks and specifications associated with the public opinion survey:

  • The drafted survey question with logo images was sent to Drive Research.
  • Drive Research programmed the online survey.
  • The survey included one custom question and three demographic questions (age, gender, and region).
  • The public opinion survey was targeted to adults (18+) in the U.S. (general population).
  • Drive Research collected 1,000 total responses for the home appliance brand.
  • Our public opinion survey company provided the client access to an online portal, one aggregate report, and up to 3 cross-tab reports.
  • Reports may be downloaded as Excel, PDF, PowerPoint, or Word documents.

Our market research company sent the results of the public opinion survey in 72-hours.

The timeline of market research is dependent on sample size, goal number of responses, number of questions, and more. On average, this process takes 24 to 72 hours once the survey is in fieldwork.


Conduct a Public Opinion Survey with Drive Research

Drive Research is a full-service market research company located in Upstate New York. Our team of senior research and public relations executives partners with brands across the country to quickly deliver high-quality data from those who matter most. 

Are you interested in partnering with Drive Research on your next public opinion survey? Contact our team today. 

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Carroll

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Coordinator. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.


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