When an election is taking place, whether local, state, or federal, during the process, many citizens will see news stations or websites predict how the race will turn out based on polls that have been taken of the public. The results of these polls may turn out to be correct at the end of the race or they may not. This could happen because of a bold statement from the candidate that made their followers change their minds, but it could also be because only a certain number of the population was polled. When these poll results are shown on news stations, many citizens discuss how they are not sure how the network came up with those numbers as they were never asked for their opinion and no one that they know was asked either. For this reason, these polls can be helpful with some election predictions, but without an efficient method of distributing them to a wide variety of people, these polls can only give a small amount of potentially accurate information.
There To Serve
The government is here to help the citizens that live under the jurisdiction of the government. Whether federal, state, or local, the positions of power given to those who choose to go into politics and government are called "Public Service". These jobs were created so that the people living within the boundaries of a certain area have the safest, most secure life possible. The job title includes the word service and these jobs and organizations were created to serve the people within the government's jurisdiction.
Since these jobs were created to serve the people, how can an organization or government agency make sure that every person within their area has a voice and is spoken for? The government elected officials typically do not represent every race, gender, or economic status that exists within the boundaries, and the number of those in power only make up a minuscule percent of the total population.
This is where surveys can come into place. These tools can be used to help make sure that everyone within the government agency's boundaries feels seen and heard. Every person or group of people that reside within the area has different needs. There is no way for a politician or government agency to be made aware of these needs unless they go to every door within the city or use a method of surveying the area. Online survey software can be used and can reach a wide variety of people. For those who may not have access to a computer within their home, the local government can provide computers in public libraries or public spaces that are open for public use. Paper or door-to-door surveys can also be used to make up for those who may not have access to certain types of technology, but it is important to keep in mind that completing public surveys this way involves a significant amount of data input later.
These tools can be used for many purposes, whether practical or to gauge the way the general public feels about a certain incentive or individual. Online survey software is invaluable to a government agency that truly wants to work for the people and do its best to serve its community. These tools help your organization or agency:
Improve Public Trust
Fear and lack of transparency can create mistrust of your organization or government agency. Not because you are inherently doing anything immoral or unethical, but because the people who live under the jurisdiction of the government work hard and pay taxes so that they can have a government that provides them with a safe and secure life for themselves and their children or family. They want to know what is being done with the money that is supposed to improve their life and the community around them. Surveys give a government organization or agency a method of communication that cannot efficiently happen in person, with every person. This communication is a method of improving transparency between your organization and the people within the community. They can fill out surveys listing things they like or want to see improved in the community and you use that information to the best of your ability and report back to them on the progress.
Lastly, asking for the community's opinion shows them that you care. Feeling seen, heard, and cared for is a massive way to improve and maintain trust.
Keep You and Related Government Organizations Accountable
No one likes hearing negative feedback, but sometimes it is necessary for an organization to improve. Giving a legitimate way for the people your agency is serving to tell you how they feel about what you are doing is a way to keep yourselves accountable. What may appear to be helpful to you, may not actually be in reality. Your agency may not realize this without the information and opinions given from surveys. This information can help your agency keep track of who in the organization is doing their job well and who could benefit from improvement. There is no better way to find out how efficient your organization is than hearing from the people your organization is serving. And once you have that information and you are made aware of improvements that should be completed, it is your responsibility to follow through. Your organization or government agency could be held liable for knowing about a situation that needed to be improved and not doing anything about it. Having documentation helps improve both effectiveness, accountability, and transparency.
Inform Decision Making
The individuals who are elected or work in government service are not always an accurate representation of the people who work in and live in the community. Not only that but the needs of each individual working in the organization vary between each employee and the needs of government employees may vary from what the majority of the community is needing and wanting. Surveys give your organization a direct source of information about what needs to be completed and changed about the community. It is simply not possible for everyone in the government office building to be aware of every need in the community. Surveys give your group a way to see or hear about ideas that they would not have thought of on their own. Everyone's life experience is different and the needs within a community are all different. Knowing what the community actually wants can help your agency make better, more informed decisions for all.
Questions help all of us. Questions help us grow, move forward, and improve at whatever we are doing. All of us are directly or indirectly affected by the government in some way, so questions are something that those in power should regularly be asking their constituents and something that constituents should regularly be asking those in power over them.
Election year is not the only time the government should be using surveys to communicate with and ask questions of the public. No country, state, or county is perfect and there is always someone or a group of people whose lives could use improvement. Surveys can be used by the government to find out what types of people are living in their jurisdiction, what the political affiliations are present, how the community is doing, what the community thinks needs improving, and what the community hopes for the future. Asking a variety of questions and questions on different subjects can help government agencies gauge what type of community they are serving and the mandates and projects that should be the focus of their years in service.
Questions and Question Categories
Mass surveys are best when they are relatively short and simple to understand. There are many different types of questions that can be asked of constituents and governments can benefit from asking a variety that provide of variety of answers. This helps give a well-rounded view of the population, who they are, and what they need.
Political Affiliation Related Questions
These questions can assist the government in grasping what population they are serving. They may already have an idea of which way the majority of their constituents lean, but there is always going to be a minority amongst the majority and knowing what they think and feel can help the government serve the whole population the best that they can.
1. What is your political affiliation?
2. Why was that political affiliation chosen?
3. Have you always been a member of that political party?
4. If so, have you ever considered changing your political party?
Community Engagement Questions
Most of these questions are intended for local use or for hearing about specific issues in the local community and government. These help local government officials stay aware of what the needs and wants in the community are.
5. What do you consider the biggest political issues facing your country?
6. What do you consider to be the biggest issues facing your local area/state?
7. Have you ever personally contacted elected officials in your local area to discuss issues in your community?
8. Do you attend local government round table/city hall type gatherings to discuss local issues?
9. What do you want your elected leaders to know about you and the community?
Voting Related Questions
These questions are most beneficial during elections seasons, but can also help gauge the general feelings of the population or how involved the community is in political affairs.
10. Are you registered to vote?
11. Are you aware of who the elected individuals are in your local area/state?
12. Do you vote in national elections?
13. Do you vote in local elections?
14. Are you interested in politics?
15. If you could change one thing about politics in your country or state, what would it be?
16. How likely are you to vote in upcoming national elections?
17. How likely are you to vote in upcoming local elections?
18. How do you decide who you are going to vote for?
19. How many elections have you voted in?
20. How old were you when you voted for the first time?
21. Do you share the same political views as your family members?
22. Do you always vote for the candidates in your political party?
23. Have you ever changed your mind on who you would vote for last minute while currently at the polls?
24. Is there something or multiple factors that would make you leave your current political party?
25. How does a candidate attract your initial attention and potential vote?
26. What is the most important trait or belief a candidate must have for you to vote for them?
27. What are some traits that typically attract you to a certain candidate?
28. What is the worst thing a political candidate can do that will lose your vote?
29. Do political ads have any effect on who you vote for?
These are the questions that really help a government organization or agency develop a well-rounded view of who they are serving. Not every person within one political party feels the same way about everything. Some feel very strongly and some may find themselves in the middle between multiple political parties. These questions can also help the government gauge how involved the community can be or wants to be in political or community affairs.
30. How do you feel about the United States Electoral College?
31. How do you feel about the impeachment process in the United States?
32. Should higher education be a financial responsibility of the government?
33. Do you typically trust politicians?
34. What do you consider the biggest problem facing the world today?
35. What are your thoughts on the relations between the world's countries?
36. Do you think our world leaders have the ability to do what it takes to make the world a better/safer place for everyone?
37. What are our world leaders completely missing the mark on?
38. Who do you consider the greatest political leader of all time?
39. How do you feel about public protests?
40. What are your thoughts on political rallies?
41. Have you ever attended a political rally in person?
42. What are your thoughts about online political rallies?
43. Have you ever attended an online political rally?
44. Do you feel safe voting in person?
45. Are you in favor of or against mail-in voting?
46. What do you consider the biggest challenge of voting in person?
47. Do you think the political polls shown on news stations are accurate?
48. Have you ever taken a political survey over the phone or online?
49. Are you able to get along and have cordial conversations and interactions with those who are involved with a different political party?
50. Have you ever taken a political science course?
51. Have you ever been part of a political campaign?
52. What are your thoughts on the media coverage of politics in the United States?
53. Do you feel comfortable discussing politics with friends, family, and co-workers?
54. Do you have a political media personality that you regularly listen to?
55. Do you regularly answer political survey questions?
56. Do you contribute time or money to any political campaign or cause?
Questionnaires and online surveys should be a common occurrence in government agencies or organizations. Constituents should regularly be asked what they think and should be asked a variety of questions about their history, beliefs, and hope for the future. Asking each other questions helps us get better and the government's purpose is to maintain and improve society. The government should regularly be asking constituents for their opinion or thoughts and the constituents would benefit from asking questions right back. The government's purpose is to serve the community and regularly surveying the group they intend to serve is one way to ensure they do so.
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