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U.S. Politics and Policy: Polls

American Public Opinion and Attitudes

Evaluating Poll Information

  • Ask yourself who was surveyed, what questions were they asked, when was it conducted, how were they surveyed, and why the polling organization might want certain responses.
  • Beware of self-selected polls. Participants should be randomly selected and should fairly represent the population.
  • Push polls, or political telemarketing designed to persuade large numbers of voters, are not actually polls. They usually ask one or only a few questions about a single candidate or a single issue and the questions are usually uniformly strongly negative of a candidate or issue.