Frequently Asked Questions
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What is data mining?

An increasingly popular term in market research, data mining, sometimes called “knowledge discovery,” is the process of analyzing data from different perspectives and summarizing the patterns and relationships identified.

The data derived from those studies is used to identify voter patterns, forecast behaviors, economic indicators, purchasing preferences, competitive positions and customer demographics.

Where does Keystone Analytics® get its data?

Keystone maintains a database of publicly available information including voter files, demographic and census data, and a variety of commercially available data. This information, along with survey research and technology, helps organizations gain a deeper understanding of a given situation. Using this method, organizations can go well beyond traditional polling and surveys to look at trends, patterns and real explanations of why things occur.

How does Keystone decide who to survey?

Unless otherwise noted, opinion polls of “registered voters” are conducted among a random sample of voters in the specified geography. Surveys of “likely voters” are conducted among a random sample of voters, stratified by vote history, age, political party, gender, and geography to match the expected turnout in the target election based on past election results. Both sampling methods are based on lists of registered voters as maintained by the Secretary of State and individual counties’ Supervisors of Elections. Phone numbers are scrubbed and enhanced with commercial sources to increase coverage.

What is a benchmark survey?

Usually consisting of 20-25 questions, a benchmark survey will identify where voters stand on issues, probe strengths and weaknesses of candidates and opponents, and help frame potential messages. Results from benchmark surveys, and the accompanying strategic analysis, create the foundation for a campaign’s tactical playbook. Sample size is usually between 300-500 completed interviews.

What is a brushfire survey?

Usually consisting of 8-10 questions, a brushfire survey provides a quick snapshot of how the voting electorate feels about a particular issue or candidate. Sample size is usually between 300-500 completed interviews.

Is there a difference between a poll and a survey?

A poll asks one multiple-choice question from among predefined answers. Voters can select one or more answers. A survey asks multiple questions across a wider range of issues.

How does Keystone present its research?

We present our findings in a clear and comprehensive manner. Survey analysis consists of an executive summary with relevant findings and accompanying charts and graphs. Additional analysis, such as breaking down the data by multiple variables like age, income level, or geographic location, is available based on the scope of your project.

Is it expensive?

The true value of Keystone’s services is experienced through its comprehensive and broad scope of offerings.  Rather than paying several different consultants to create and manage each component of a campaign, i.e., polling, analysis, consulting, direct mail, websites, etc., our clients benefit from the economic advantages of shared services. This in-house, full-service approach allows Keystone to keep fees at competitively priced levels, and improves the quality of our work.

Does Keystone conduct studies outside the state of Pennsylvania?

Keystone maintains a database of voter and consumer information specific to Pennsylvania, which allows us to sustain a level of expertise regarding issues affecting the Commonwealth and its citizens. However, since many issues are not state-specific, our capabilities don’t stop at the PA state line. We’re open and available to discuss any potential project, so feel free to contact us.

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