PS 101 Public Opinion & Polling Fall 2008

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Presentation by my TA, Victoria Ibanez.

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  • Would it be possible to use one or two of these slides for an article I'm writing (as an unpaid journalist) on the value of using polls as one way of guiding voting in the FPTP system?
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PS 101 Public Opinion & Polling Fall 2008

  1. 1. Public Opinion & Polling
  2. 2. Public Opinion “...those opinions held by private persons which government finds it prudent to heed.”--V.O. Key, Jr.
  3. 3. Does Public Opinion Matter?
  4. 4. “The republican principle demands that the deliberative sense of the community should guide the conduct of those to whom they entrust the management of their affairs; but it does not require an unqualified complaisance to every sudden breeze of passion, or to every transient impulse which the people may receive from the arts of men, who flatter their prejudices to betray their interest...” --Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 71
  5. 5. Public Opinion The collection of independent politically relevant opinions that ordinary citizens express openly through words or actions.
  6. 6. How do we measure public opinion?
  7. 7. Scientific vs. Unscientific Polling
  8. 8. The Theory of Probability
  9. 9. Probability Sample sample design in which each individual in the population has a known probability of being randomly selected for inclusion in a survey or poll
  10. 10. Sampling Error?
  11. 11. Sample Size Margin of Error (%) 2000 +/-2% 1000 +/-3% 600 +/-5% 400 +/-6% 200 +/-8% 100 +/- 11%
  12. 12. The Bell Curve 68% 95%
  13. 13. The Phone Book List Problem
  14. 14. 1990 U.S. Census
  15. 15. Public Opinion Poll a relatively few individuals (the sample) are interviewed in order to estimate the opinions of a whole population.
  16. 16. Survey Systematic interviews by trained, professional interviewers, who ask a standardized set of questions of a rather small number of randomly chosen citizens.
  17. 17. Unscientific Polling
  18. 18. Straw Polls Unscientific surveys of popular views. (NO RANDOM SAMPLE)
  19. 19. Problems with Polling
  20. 20. 1936 Presidential Election
  21. 21. The Importance of Random Sampling
  22. 22. The Gallup Poll
  23. 23. What About Timing?
  24. 24. 1948 Presidential Election
  25. 25. Exit Poll Interviews of voters are taken as they leave the polling place.
  26. 26. 2004 Zogby Exit Polls
  27. 27. 5” Today’s Date Last Name, First Name (mm/dd/yy) 3” PLACE ANSWER HERE
  28. 28. 5” Question of the Day How do you feel about Dr. Rice as a Political Science instructor? A. He’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! 3” B. He’s pretty good, but his fashion choices leave a lot to be desired… C. He’s not nearly as great as he thinks he is. D. Where did they dig this guy up?
  29. 29. 5” Question of the Day How would you feel about Dr. Rice as a Political Science instructor if you knew that he liked to kick dogs, eat small children and club baby seals? 3” A. He’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! B. He’s pretty good, but his fashion choices leave a lot to be desired… C. He’s not nearly as great as he thinks he is. D. Where did they dig this guy up?
  30. 30. Push polls unscientific polls that deliberately feed respondents misleading information or leading questions in an effort to “push” them into favoring a particular candidate or issue

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