Sawtooth Software: The Survey Software of Choice

This article provides a case study regarding how MaxDiff and Cluster Ensemble analysis can be used to segment a population. Sawtooth Software conducted an online study among US respondents just prior to the 2008 presidential election between John McCain and Barack Obama. The 2008 Political Landscape study measured what policy positions would make people most and least want to vote for a US presidential candidate. We studied 25 different policy positions, including such items as:

  • Ensure the long-term health of Social Security
  • Bring the troops home from Iraq
  • Restrict carbon emissions to reduce global warming
  • Reduce the federal deficit

We used MaxDiff (best-worst) scaling to measure the influence of these items on respondents’ preference for a presidential candidate. And, of course, Democrats and Republicans have different priorities when it comes to policies and positions.

Following estimation of individual-level scores from MaxDiff, we used our CCEA (Convergent Cluster & Ensemble Analysis) software to find segments of respondents that had similar preferences.

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