Speaker: Hansen, J. (Gallup)
Date: 13 March 2019
SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Mr. Jerry Hansen (Gallup) as a part of its SMA General Speaker Series. During his presentation, Mr. Hansen discussed Gallup’s ongoing work and highlighted its World Poll initiative. He first reviewed the history of Gallup. He stated that Gallup was once only associated with only US election polling and public opinion surveys. However, after 9/11, Gallup was inspired to expand its reaches beyond the US in order to assess what Afghans thought about the presence of US ground forces. They also surveyed what Afghans thought of the West, what their life expectations and aspirations were, and more. A few years later, the company decided that they would further their reach by beginning a 100-year study of the world. Next, Mr. Hansen explained how Gallup incorporated Maslow’s hierarchy of basic human needs, institutional influences, and cultural comparisons, as well as individuals’ life desires and aspirations, into the polling model. He outlined the factors that Gallup looks at in its world polling initiative, including talent retention and well-being (i.e., an individual’s purpose in everyday life, family and community ties, social networks, and physical and emotional well-being). Mr. Hansen then discussed Gallup’s polling methods, reviewed a series of questions that Gallup asks interviewees, and provided a few examples of analyses derived from the company’s polling data. One of such analyses looks at the relationship between GDP and well-being in a variety of countries over time, and how significant events in a country may impact those factors. To conclude, Mr. Hansen spoke about Gallup’s Life Evaluation Index, for which pollsters ask questions regarding an individual’s “positive and negative experiences.” These questions are asked to get a sense of a country’s level of success and stability, as well as its citizens’ happiness.