New app could eliminate opinion polls

App predicts Trump to win election

By JEREMY SHIRLEY

KENNESAW, Ga. — American’s might never have to worry about their phones ringing off the hook during the presidential elections anymore thanks to a new app, Zip.

Every four years, people throughout the U.S. are bombarded with phone calls from opinion polls trying to predict who will be elected the next president.

Ric Militi, the CEO and founder of Zip, is also the co-founder of Crazy Raccoons, the parent company of Zip, which both started in in San Diego, California.

Militi decided to develop Zip when he got into a debate with his co-worker Alanna Markey. To resolve the problem they went around the office asking other co-workers their opinions. After asking everyone in the office, they still had no answer.

So, they went to Google, finding polling apps, but many of these apps were very opinionated and couldn’t answer their question either.

This is when Militi came up with the idea for Zip. He wanted something that was simple, easy to use and not bias. Zip launched in Feb. 2016 and by August it was competing with opinion polls on which was more likely to predict the next president.

Differences between Zip and opinion polls

“We’re not a poll,” Militi said. “We’re a conversation and 100 percent anonymous.”

Militi believes his app is more accurate because people are more comfortable answering questions and they don’t have to worry about being judged or bullied, allowing for a accurate answer.

Opinion polls can sometimes be swayed toward one candidate based on how the questions are asked.

Opinion polls were first known as “straw polls.” They started in 1824 during the Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams election, changing over a century later in 1936 when George Gallup developed a new quota system for conducting polls.

Before Gallup, the Literary Digest a weekly news magazine in the U.S. would send out postcards to ask people who they were going to vote for. In 1936, the magazine sent out 10 million postcards, but only 2 million were filled out and returned.

Gallup noticed the magazine was susceptible to self-selection bias. However, with his new method, Gallup predicted Roosevelt would win, and he did.

Gallup’s method wasn’t perfect, but there was a major decrease in opinion poll errors once his method was used. Gallup died in 1984, but the Gallup Company still uses his method.

In 2012, the company took a major hit when it predicted Mitt Romney to beat Barack Obama.

Pollsters have an uphill battle because their method of calling people is no longer working, due to the decrease in landlines and laws preventing pollsters from calling private cell phones.

Praise, concerns for Zip

“I think the app is great,” Zip user David Short said. “I’ve used it many times to resolve arguments between my friends and me. It will definitely be interesting to see if it is right about the election.”

Zip has Trump winning 94 percent compared to 6 percent for Clinton.

According to USA Today and Real Clear Politics, Clinton is winning 47.8 percent compared to Trump at 41 percent.

One issue with Zip is the app doesn’t let the user see who has responded to its question, raising concern about who is really answering these questions. The age range is from 13 and above.

Although the company insists all the answers are legitimate, some users are still skeptical.

“I think the app is going to blow up in their face,” Zip user Dana Sams said. “They can’t even tell me who answered my questions. For all I know, it could be kids in high school responding.”

Sams, along with many veteran pollsters, could be right about Zip, but Militi could know something they don’t.


Tonight, we will find out who will be our next president.

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