How Political Polling Works

Author's Note

I have never been contacted by a public opinion poll, and frankly, I'm a little hurt. Doesn't my educated and (obviously) fascinating opinion count for anything? In researching this article, I came across the following estimate of the number of polls conducted each year and the number of people contacted. If there are roughly 2,500 national polls conducted each year and each poll contacts 1,000 participants, then only 2,500,000 of the nation's 200 million adults get to participate each year. That gives me a one in 100 chance of getting a call from Gallup. Until then, I'm sticking to my same response every time I see the latest poll numbers claiming to represent the opinion of all Americans: "Well, nobody asked me."

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