Cover image for The voter's guide to election polls
The voter's guide to election polls
Traugott, Michael W.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Chatham House Publishers, [2000]

Physical Description:
x, 182 pages ; 23 cm
Reading Level:
1360 Lexile.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HN90.P8 T73 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Published just in time for the run up to the 2000 election, this concise, readable guide to polling is for every voter who has wondered how opinion polls are conducted and used by candidates and the news media. A straightforward question and answer format, developed from the questions most frequently asked by the general public, gives a quick, broad overview of polling methodology and usage. Washington Post journalist Richard Morin said of the previous edition, the book "asks and then answers virtually every important question that could be asked about public opinion surveys and elections."

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Anyone following the most recent primary season may have wondered more than once, how did they get it so wrong? "They," of course, being the pollsters. While it may seem a simple enough process--ask potential voters a set of questions and report on the results--the reality of modern political polling in the US is much more complex and interesting than many Americans realize. Just in time for the 2008 presidential election, communications scholars Traugott (Univ. of Michigan) and Lavrakas (formerly, Northwestern and Ohio State) have produced a new edition of their voter's guide. This fourth edition includes several changes that reflect new polling methods, as well as the rapid technological changes that have occurred in both polling and the electoral process since the 2004 elections. Designed to provide readers with an overview of polling and its role in the political process, the book is organized as a series of practical questions and answers. Each of the ten chapters begins with a general question, followed by several related, narrower questions, which the chapter then answers in a very matter-of-fact manner. Chapters cover the most basic issues (what polling is), as well as the more complex issues (what some of the real and perceived problems with current polling methods are). The book includes footnotes, chapter-specific references, a glossary, and two appendixes that will aid readers who may want to delve even further. This guide should help readers become not only more informed consumers of information, but also more informed, involved citizens. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels. C. A. Collins Bucks County Community College

Table of Contents

Introductionp. v
1 What Are Polls and Surveys? and Why Are They Conducted?p. 1
Referencesp. 7
2 What Are Election Polls? How Are They Conducted?p. 10
Referencesp. 25
3 How Do Political Candidates and Organizations Use Poll Data?p. 29
Referencesp. 38
4 How Do News Organizations Collect and Report Poll Data?p. 40
5 Why Do Pollsters Use Samples?p. 52
6 How Do Interviews Take Place?p. 72
Referencesp. 85
7 How Are Questionnaires Put Together?p. 88
Referencesp. 108
8 How Do Media Organizations Analyze Polls?p. 111
Referencep. 119
9 How Can I Evaluate Published Poll Results?p. 120
Referencesp. 126
10 What Are Some Common Problems and Complaints About Polls?p. 129
Referencesp. 139
Epiloguep. 141
Appendix a Standards for Disclosing Information About the Methodology of Public Pollsp. 143
Appendix B Sample Tolerances (sampling Errors) for Samples of Different Sizesp. 148
Glossaryp. 150
Indexp. 177