There are two main ways to run a poll with multiple options. One is called a Ranked poll, where respondents rank all options in order of preference. The second is a Head-to-Head poll, where respondents compare two or more options against each other with all possible matchups.

Ranked Polls

Ranked polls simulate the election process, called Ranked-Choice Voting, and require a majority of votes to have a winner. Each respondent is asked to rank every option within the poll. As you can see below, the first option was the winner with a score of 56 after two rounds, 22 first-place votes and a total of 50 votes.

This methodology for selecting a winner is called Instant Run-Off Voting (IRV). Respondents in IRV campaigns rank the options in order of preference. In some cases, this can result in multiple rounds of voting. In each round, the option with lowest votes is eliminated until the top choice remains. Here is an example of a poll that went through two rounds of voting:

Last step is calculating the scores. The score is the percentage of total votes an option receives during the vote counting. Scores indicate relative preference between different options. Only the winner of a Ranked poll will have a score greater than 50.

Benefits of a Ranked poll-

  • Fastest and fairest way to determine audience preferences
  • Less expensive

Head-to-Head Polls

In a Head-to-Head poll, options are presented to respondents in consecutive 1:1 matchups, meaning two at a time. Respondents vote on each matchup and provide written comments about why they chose one over the other. Each option is tested against every other option and assigned an overall score. The score for each option is its number of “won” votes divided by the number of matchups that the option was in. The winner of a Head-to-Head poll is the option with the highest score. In the example below, all four options are ranked against each other in a Head-to-Head poll with all available 1:1 combinations.

Benefits of a H2H poll-

More comprehensive approach, yielding more detailed written feedback.

Here are some helpful articles related to scoring:

Anatomy of a PickFu Poll

Testing More Than Two Options

Interpreting Tied Results

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