A POLL ON POLLING: What Do You Think of Articles That Ask Questions?

A POLL ON POLLING: What Do You Think of Articles That Ask Questions?


One of the things we’re hoping to do with the various platforms of this Kane County digital community outreach initiative is do a little better job of engaging the 515,000 folks who live and work here.

And part of the engagement process — and learning curve for me — is trying different types of posts to see what works and what doesn’t, what topics are of interest to readers and what we can do to improve.

We tried a reader-poll experiment late last week that had mixed results, in my opinion. You can read the original Kane County Connects article and see updated poll results by clicking here. (The “Polldaddy” poll available in the WordPress platform has an expiration date of one week, so voting can continue through Friday.)

Here’s the backstory: Piggy-backing on the Gallup Poll story that pinned Illinois with the tag of “the place residents would most want to leave,” we tried to localize the topic by posing the question to Kane County residents. The results were a bit surprising, at least to me, for a couple reasons.

There were 536 votes in the poll as of noon Tuesday, plus 76 Facebook shares and 5 retweets. We posted the article on Friday, May 2, and in my experience, those are a fairly good-sized number for a first-time poll in that period of time. So in terms of reader engagement and audience development, one could say that the post was successful.

It was not-so-successful, in my opinion, for a couple of other reasons.

First, the poll results are out of whack with the Gallup results.

Both the KCC “Polldaddy” poll and the Gallup phone poll posed the same question: “Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?”

In the Gallup poll, the states where the most residents would leave if they could were Illinois (50%), Connecticut (49%) and Maryland (47%). The states where the fewest residents would leave include Montana, Hawaii and Maine, all at 23 percent.

As of Tuesday, the Kane County Connects poll had 92.91 percent of folks saying they’d leave the state and just 7.09 percent saying they’d stay right here in sweet home, Kane County. If I had been asked to guess what the results would be prior to posting the question, I would have figured the majority would be happy to stay here. I know that’s my personal opinion. I was born and raised here, my family is here, I’ve spent the majority of my career here, and I am in general very happy and proud to say the Fox River Valley is my home.

When we posted the poll, we noted the results would be unscientific and should be taken with a big grain of salt, and objectively, based on a comparison to the Gallup results, it’s safe to say that “unscientific” is an understatement.

A second reason I felt the article was less-than-successful is that — no matter how much you emphasize the “unscientific” nature of the exercise — some folks (primarily folks who agree with the outcome) will take the results as cold hard fact.

That leads to the question du jour, a conundrum of sorts, posed with sincerity even though the irony isn’t lost on me — a readers poll on readers polls.

This one is a bit different than the first. In the first poll, repeat voting was blocked by cookie, the recommended selection in WordPress. For this one, repeat voting is blocked by cookie and by IP address. We hope to learn again from this exercise, and we thank you for sharing your opinions with Kane County Connects.


Rick Nagel
Kane County Community Outreach Coordinator
May 6, 2014










According to Gallup, work or business reasons was the biggest factor in determining “should I stay or should I go.” The story says 31 percent, on average for all 50 states, list work of business as reason No. 1. That’s followed by family or other social reasons (19%), weather or location (11%), and then seeking a better quality of life or change (9%).