Friday, June 08, 2012

Introducing Fast Track Polling

Political campaigns and organizations engaged in public policy issues throughout the country are facing an increasing need and desire to conduct simple, short and inexpensive polls.  This is particularly relevant for state legislative and local level campaigns, but also for Congressional races, ballot initiatives and public policy issues.  Typical 5 - 8+ minute tracking polls tend to be too expensive or expansive for these needs.   

Because of the increased demand for short, reliable and accurate polls at a low cost we have developed a new, live professional interviewer poll known as Fast Track.

Introducing Fako & Associates' Fast Track Polls

Our firm has conducted both live and recorded IVR tracking polls, sometimes referred to as robo-polls. Our personal experience with live interviewer and IVR surveys are polls conducted by professional interviewers are consistently more reliable and accurate than IVR polls at the state legislative and other down ballot campaigns. IVR polls have a proven track record of accuracy and reliability in Congressional, Statewide and high profile policy campaigns.  IVR polls are more difficult to consistently and reliably complete at the State Legislative and other down ballot races due to low response rates and limited supply of quality phone samples.  The legal prohibition on calling cell phones with automated dialers and the high cost of adding a cell phone supplement to the IVR polls creates another quality and accuracy concern for IVR polls, especially for down ballot campaigns.

To address the need for reliable, simple, short and inexpensive surveys, F&A has developed a new poll using professional interviewers known as Fast Track.   Fast Track surveys utilize a more reliable and accurate methodology than IVR polls, particularly for down ballot campaigns.  These polls will include interviews conducted on cell phones, to ensure this significant sub-group is included in the sample, reducing coverage bias and making them consistently more reliable than polls that do not or cannot include cell phones.  

We recommend using these polls for:  
  • tracking polls where only name favorability and trial heat questions are needed;
  • campaigns where a quick and inexpensive check on the opinions of candidates and the status of a race is needed or desired; 
  • campaigns that want to track more frequently with polls that use professional interviewers; and, 
  • low budget campaigns that need essential polling data on name favorability and the support of candidates.
Fast Track polls will provide essential data for any campaign.  They will include a strict screen for likely voters, test opinions of the candidates, evaluate job performance, where an incumbent is involved, test the support of candidates in a trial heat of the election, and the candidates' strength of support.  Fast Track polls also will include two essential demographic questions for the campaign, typically age and party ID.  

Fast Track polls are much less expensive than the typical 5 - 8+ minute tracking surveys. Fast Track polls will cost between $2,500 - $3,500 depending on sample size (n=300 - 400) and the availability of sample.  This is significantly lower than the typical tracking polls, which cost $5,000 or more, and only marginally higher than many IVR studies.

Fako & Associates also provides comprehensive benchmark and standard tracking surveys to campaigns, public policy groups, labor organizations, and private businesses throughout  the country.

Please contact Dave Fako at (w) 630-243-7111 or via e-mail at: for more information on our new Fast Track polls and our comprehensive strategic benchmark and tracking survey services, 

For more information on F&A, please visit Fako & Associates' website.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Political Analysis of IL 2nd CD Polling Results

The links below feature our political analysis of the 2nd Congressional District Democratic Primary race and supporting documents that were previously released on the 21st.

Rejoin us next week for a discussion of the benefits and challenges we encountered in this test of IVR surveying compared to live interviewer surveying.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Illinois 2nd Congressional District Democratic Primary Election Poll Results

Fako & Associates, Inc. conducted two surveys last week within the newly defined 2nd Congressional District of Illinois. We conducted these surveys as an internal test, not commissioned by any campaign or third party organization. We chose the 2nd Congressional District to run nearly identical Interactive Voice Recognition and traditional live interviewer surveys because of the unique dynamics of the district. Its population and the state of the race presented numerous beneficial attributes to test the viability of IVR surveying. We will be discussing the advantages and disadvantages we discovered through these two surveys after the Thanksgiving holiday, but for now, we present you some of the results:

Summary Topline
Tables for IVR & Cellular Study
Tables for Live Landline & Cellular Study

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fako & Associates Announces Staff Promotions

Steve Leopoldo
has been promoted to Vice President. Steve joined F&A in 2005 and has helped develop winning strategy and message for political and public policy clients throughout the country during his six years with the firm. Most recently, he was the lead polling analyst for the Illinois House Democratic Caucus / Democratic Party of Illinois’ successful effort to maintain their majority and worked on successful political campaigns and public policy issues in New York, Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri.

Kerry Myers has been promoted to Senior Analyst. Kerry started with F&A in 2008. Kerry has contributed to poll questionnaire design, statistical analysis and developing strategy and message for dozens of campaign throughout the country in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 election cycles. She was the lead “crosstab” producer at the firm and wrote or contributed to dozens of strategic analysis during the 2010 election cycle.

Sandy Kim has been named an Assistant Analyst. Sandy joined F&A’s team in the spring of 2010 as an intern and worked full time during the fall 2010 cycle. She provided significant assistance with coding our open ended questions and proofing reports and crosstabs for dozens of campaigns last fall.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bucking the trend...

Fako & Associates congratulates our many successful clients of yesterday’s mid-term election.

It was a tough year for Democrats throughout the State and Country, but there were several victories that deserve note:
  • Sara Feigenholtz (IL HD 12)
  • Keith Farnham (IL HD 43)
  • Daniel Biss (IL HD 17)
  • Bill Cunningham (IL HD 35)
  • Kevin McCarthy (IL HD 37)
  • Fred Crespo (IL HD 44)
  • Elaine Nekritz (IL HD 57)
  • Karen May (IL HD 58)
  • Carol Sente (IL HD 59)
  • Jack Franks (IL HD 63)
  • Chuck Jefferson (IL HD 67)
  • Patrick Verschoore (IL HD 72)
  • Lisa Dugan (IL HD 72)
  • Emily McAsey (IL HD 85)
  • Jack McGuire (IL HD 86)
  • Jehan Gordon (IL HD 92)
  • Naomi Jakobsson (IL HD 103)
  • Tom Holbrook (IL HD 113)
  • Dan Reitz (IL HD 116)
  • Stacey Evans (GA HD 40)
  • Joseph Addabbo (NY SD 15)
  • David Valesky (NY SD 49)
  • Tammy Irons (AL SD 1)
  • Dan Foley (Montgomery County, Ohio Commissioner)
  • Michelle Mussman (IL HD 56) (Presumed Winner)
Many of the Illinois House races were through the Democratic Party of Illinois and New York Senatorial races were Independent Expenditure campaigns.

Fako & Associates would also like to congratulate Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride for winning his retention election in the face of a serious effort by national political organizations to attack his judicial integrity and oust him from State Supreme Court. The campaign organization constructed on his behalf was a focused and disciplined campaign with a unique strategy and a dedicated team.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Polling - Public vs. Internal

This is an interesting article written by Charlie Cook on the National Journal. He quotes Stu Rothenberg's comments about internal polling and much of what is publicly available.

The passage that most interested us is:

"I should echo an argument made several weeks ago by my good friend and competitor Stu Rothenberg. He scoffed at those who mistakenly believed that polls conducted independently from the candidates and parties were inherently better or more reliable than campaign polling.

My view is that most academic polling, as well as the polling sponsored by local television stations and newspapers, is dime-store junk.

The far more sophisticated polling is done by top-notch professional polling firms for campaigns, parties and major business and labor organizations. These polls are considerably more expensive and the methodology is more rigorous.

Most of these surveys are not made public, but insiders can be made aware of them. While even the most experienced and contentious political pollsters have more challenges than a generation ago, their work is still far superior and reliable.

The end result is that you have two separate conversations about these political races: one that is driven by the publicly available, but less reliable, stock of polls and the other made by the black market of high-quality and more expensive surveys done for private clients, including the campaigns themselves."

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Avoid Getting caught Under the Dome

"I would say that we may have underestimated the anti-incumbent mood."

-- U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas),, June 8, 2010

After reading this, we were wondering where the Senator has been living for the last year – in a cave?

A strong anti-incumbent, anti-establishment and anti-Washington sentiment has been brewing for over a year, manifesting in real political movements and some partisan driven groups.

The Senator's comments reflect a common affliction with many office holders, they develop an "under the dome" mentality, which is when their sphere of influence and perceptions are based on what a small circle of capitol insiders say and feel. Incumbents lose touch with the real needs and concerns of the people they represent. This mentality drives incumbents to feel everything they do in the Capitol is important to the voters back home while ignoring the local (small) things they must do back in their community.

Elections are won by candidates who remain in touch with the core needs and values of the people they represent and recognize that serving in a governing body is an honor and not a right bestowed upon them. They must recognize their job is to advocate for the people they represent, not a small group of capitol building advocates. Elected officials must advocate the issues and values in the legislature and beyond that connect with the voters in their communities, states, Districts. Incumbents should always be actively engaged in their communities when not required to be in session or the Capitol – this will prevent disconnections exemplified by Sen. Lincoln’s comment. Unfortunately, too many of our elected officials retreat to the safety cocoon of the Capitol and lose touch with the realities of what happens in their communities.

This is why we advise and push our incumbent clients to remain fully engaged in their communities throughout their term and to not focus exclusively on their work in the Capitol. This engagement includes aggressive earned and paid communications before the traditional campaign season, significant personal activity in their community among the voters – walking, Town Hall meetings, small groups / coffee meetings, as well as simply doing their job well – holding regular publicized offices hours, returning phone calls, taking care of problems with constituents no matter how big or small, etc. This also includes periodic polling to maintain a real pulse on the constituents they represent, identify opportunities and challenges and devise political and policy strategies to address these challenges.

Incumbents who remain engaged in their community will know the needs and concerns in their community that must be addressed and catch changes in attitudes. They will not have to climb out from their safety cocoon and be awaken by an anti-incumbent election.