A tracking poll is a series of individual surveys repeated continuously over time to measure attitudinal and behavioral changes in a target population. While most commonly associated with election campaigns, tracking polls also are used for a variety of other research needs, from measurement of consumer sentiment to ad tracking in marketing research.

The term tracking often mistakenly is used to describe any trend data obtained over time. In fact it correctly applies only to continuous measurements in stand-alone samples. In all applications, the aim of a tracking poll is to produce an ongoing, rather than a one-time or episodic, assessment of evolving attitudes.

Tracking polls provide substantial flexibility in data analysis. The consistent methodology produces useful time trends. Tracking data can be segregated before and after ...

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