You've probably been on the receiving end of unwanted calls asking you to partake in surveys in the past.

A person looking bored while holding up a phone

The individuals on the other end of these calls are known as pollsters, and while they may be annoying, they help provide the general public with a voice on a wide range of issues.

If you're interested in understanding the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of people through survey research, being a pollster may be the perfect career for you!

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What Does A Pollster Do?

Pollsters oversee the survey research process from start to end.

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This includes:

  1. Conducting background research by reviewing already published materials about a specific topic.

  2. Writing survey questions that will generate clear responses from respondents.

  3. Choosing the most effective method for the survey to be administered (e.g., phone, email, or in-person).

  4. Analyzing, interpreting, and communicating the results of the survey.

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Who Hires Pollsters?

Pollsters are typically employed by research-centered organizations such as polling and market research companies, educational institutions (e.g., universities), and think tanks.

As a part of these organizations, pollsters conduct research on behalf of political parties, governmental agencies, corporations, advocacy groups, and a whole lot more!

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What Education Do You Need To Become A Pollster?

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  • A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement.

  • While there isn't a specific major you're required to study, prospective pollsters tend to study political science, sociology, psychology, and other social science fields.

  • Whatever you decide to study, be sure to load up on math, statistics, and possibly even programming courses, as these will all prove useful to you as a pollster.

  • A graduate degree, specifically in an area such as survey research methods, will also prove very useful to you on the job market.

What Can I Expect To Earn?

Flaticon Icon In Canada, the average annual salary for a pollster is $82, 438 (CAD).

Flaticon Icon In the USA, the average annual salary for a pollster is $74, 530 (USD).

It Is Right For You If You...

  • Communicate well both through writing and speaking.

  • Are able to work both independently and collaboratively.

  • Are enthusiastic about research.

A person saying,

It May Not Be Right For You If You...

  • Don't get caught up in the details.

  • Aren't big on numbers and math.

  • Aren't interested in developing a deeper understanding of social issues.

A woman on a TV show saying,

Choose The Future Pollster

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  • Has a degree in sociology

  • Was a part of several social justice advocacy clubs at school

  • Took additional courses in political science outside of his major

  • Excels at coming up with broad and big picture solutions to problems

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  • Has a degree in psychology

  • Partook in various research projects at school relating to social issues

  • Took additional courses in statistics outside of her major

  • Cares a lot about the specifics when completing a task

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Who seems like a better fit to be a pollster?

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This Byte has been authored by

GS

Geethan Sivarajah

Rumie Learning Designer