Power Poll launched in Nashville in April, 2015. In its first survey, some 500 important Nashvillians were informed by email that by virtue of their standing in the city, they had been named a member of the Power Poll. They were then asked whom they supported in an ongoing mayor's race. Over 50% of Power Poll members responded. When the results were tabulated and released, traffic exploded. People—both the powerful and otherwise—wanted to know who this important class of people were supporting. The names of the Power Poll members were also published, and Google Analytics showed large numbers clicking on the list of powerful people. (Time spent on site, according to Google Analytics, was just over 8 minutes on the list itself.) Everyone wanted to see who held power.
Organically and virally, members of the Power Poll began suggesting others to include in the list. PR firms lobbied to have their clients included. From Nashville's billionaires to its grassroots activists, the names of potential members grew—some worthy of inclusion, some not. At present, the Power Poll in Nashville has approximately 1,000 members, including leaders in media, non-profits, government, business, entertainment, sports, education, politics, and other categories. The list has integrity—it is edited by a former newspaper editor, Bruce Dobie, who is also the Power Poll company CEO. Dobie has only included those who, in his judgment, are key players in the city.
After Nashville was launched and tested well into 2016, Power Poll was mothballed in 2017 because management was busy. But in February, 2018, construction of a more robust platform was begun. The goal was to build a company that could scale. That technology has been built. In September, 2018, Power Poll added Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga to its city ranks using our new technology. Surveys to those three new markets also showed high levels of engagement. (Participation rates in 2019 in the four Tennessee markets averaged 35%.)
Along the way, other markets have been added: Lexington, Louisville, Birmingham, New Orleans, Austin, Richmond, Palm Beach, Jackson, and Oakland.
In marshaling the beliefs and opinions of the class of significant citizens in U.S. cities, Power Poll has created a worthy editorial contribution to the civic narrative. Daily newspapers, local alt weeklies, and other media organizations have re-published some of the Power Poll's results. Because of The Power Poll, a large and sprawling ruling class has spoken. That voice commands attention.