IMAGE QUESTIONS Any questions asked by pollsters probing feelings about a political candidate's personality or character. Image questions use a variety of formats and approaches; most basic is the "like about," "dislike about" form. Respondents are asked what they like about candidate X, then what they dislike? ( Agranoff, 1976:136-137). Some image questions ask respondents to evaluate candidates on their integrity, their performance in office, or their personal compassion.
Another standard image question is the job approval question, used to measure how well voters think an incumbent is performing. The major pollsters each phrase the job question a little differently. Gallup asks respondents:
Do you approve or disapprove of the way (the incumbent) is handling his job?
Harris, however, poses the question this way:
How would you rate the job (the incumbent) has been doing - excellent, pretty good, only fair or poor?
One popular device is ratings on a numerical scale. A respondent might be asked to rate a public figure on some attribute from +5 (best) to -5 (worst). A similar question asks respondents to picture a large thermometer scale, then say how warm or cold they feel towards a public figure. A politician who is rated low on approval or cold on the thermometer is said to have "high negatives." See alsoAPPROVAL RATING.
INCENTIVES Payments or gifts given to respondents. Incentives are not