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Market Research

Each Referendum Commission conducts market research after polling day to measure the effectiveness of the various elements of its campaign and to gain understanding of the reasons people did not vote.

The Commission's role is to raise awareness of the referendum, to explain the referendum proposal and encourage voter turnout. The objective of the research is to assist future Commissions to plan a campaign that will be most effective in fulfilling its role.

The research after the Children referendum was carried out on the Commission's behalf by the independent polling company Behaviour and Attitudes. Their reports of the research are published below.

There were two elements to the research:

1. A quantitative survey. This was a national opinion poll conducted among over 2000 adults. This sample is twice the normal sample size used in reputable national opinion polls. the Commission opted for such a large sample in order to minimise the margin of error, which in this instance can be estimated at plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

This nationwide opinion poll measured the overall efficacy of the Commission's campaign, the efficacy of each element of it and reasons given by non-voters for not voting. The poll was conducted face-to-face and was quota controlled to ensure it accurately reflected the composition of the voting population in terms of gender, age, region and social class.

2. Qualitative research. This consisted of a series of focus groups chosen to reflect different segments of the population eligible to vote. There were eight focus groups whose participants were questioned at length to give a deeper analysis of the motivating factors influencing those who did and did not vote in the Children referendum, and the role that the Referendum Commission campaign played within this context.

Unlike the quantitative research (the national opinion poll) focus group research is not concerned with producing statistically verifiable survey data. Rather, it allows for a teasing out of the broad findings from the national opinion poll, and for a more in depth analysis of the elements of the communications mix which are likely to be more or less effective in meeting the objectives of the Referendum Commission in future campaigns.

Related Files:

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Quantitative Survey

(Format: Adobe PDF, Size: 2331KB)

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Qualitative Research

(Format: Adobe PDF, Size: 6417KB)