Moment-to-moment overlay. That’s what we call the real-time line graph generated from Perception Analyzer results as seen on-air during the presidential debates on CNN and other networks. “Moment-to-moment” because the dials used by focus group respondents are polled once per second and “overlay” because the results are often superimposed over the source material.

Until the other night, the most entertaining name I’d heard given to the line graph was “the worm.” According to our clients down under, that’s what it’s called in Australia. Then on October 7, during the CNN focus group discussion following the second presidential debate, Soledad O’Brien referred to it as “squiggles at the bottom of the screen.” Alrighty then.

Then a comment was made in a very interesting and thoughtful post on Daily Kos – “…if one can really call squiggly lines created by a PA dial data…” I’ll reply to that by pointing out that with dials being polled every second during a 90 minute debate, and with 30 focus group respondents turning dials, 162,000 data points were collected and shown to viewers.  And that’s just for the benefit of creating an interesting viewing experience on television. In research projects around the world that have been conducted with the Perception Analyzer for nearly 25 years, it is most often considerably more respondents delivering a significantly greater number of data points that are helping organizations of all kinds make critical decisions.

So yes, whether you call it the worm, squiggles or a moment-to-moment overlay, the results are data, and pretty useful data at that.

BTW, I want to thank Daily Kos for the thoughtful post, the link, and the proper use of our product name and trademark. You’d be surprised how rare that is and it’s much appreciated. And while I’m at it, I’d also like to thank CNN and MSNBC for trying something new and creating what many feel is a very interesting experience (both during the debate and in post-debate discussion and analysis). Of course, opinions vary (and some even change their mind…oy, again with the squiggles…), but that’s what makes it all the more fun and interesting.