How the Gallup Poll Works

Length: 562 words

How Does The Gallup Poll Work The Gallup Poll is one of the most recognized and revered polls used to interpret public opinion. It is used to guage public opinion on various political, social and economic issues as well as other controversial topics. The Gallup Poll is often found to be accurate in its polling of events such as elections, which is why it is considered the definitive poll by most organizations. The Gallup Poll is conducted by the Gallup organization.

The goal of The Gallup Poll is to get the same responses from its sample population that it would if it actually went out and asked all members of the actual population. They conduct the poll using a method of random sampling under the principal of equal probability of selection. Which means that every member of the population has an equal oppurtunity to be selected for the sample. This type of sampling makes for a better representation of the population and therefore a more accurate poll. When conducting a poll, Gallup first identifies and describes the population for which its poll is geared toward.

For instance, if they were doing a poll for basketball fans then the individuals who they would want

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to poll would be basketball fans. Polling baseball fans would not produce an accurate representation for a poll on basketball fans. After the population to be polled is identified, Gallup then chooses a method to randomly sample the population. The prefrerred method of Gallup is random digit dialing. Random digit dialing is the process of taking all the telephone numbers in an area for example ,the United States, and randomly calling them.

This type of sampling ensures that the poll is unbiased. The number of individuals that constitute an adequate sample for the Gallup Poll is 1,000. Sampling a number larger then that has been found to not increase the accuracy of the results of the poll and polling more individuals would not justify the expense. No sample however is 100 percent accurate and the Gallup Poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. After a phone number is picked through random digit dialing, Gallup attempts to contact an adult living in that household.

If there is more than one adult in the house Gallup randomly chooses one. This ensures that everyone has an equal chance to be polled. When contact is made Gallup begins its survey. Along with human interviewers, computer interviewers are used to ask different questions to individuals. These questions are worded in a way that Gallup has found to be most effective. It is essential that the questions are worded in a way that is constant so the poll is not comprimised. After the interview is done the computers instantly process the responses of the individuals.

Before the results are made available however, each interview is checked against different sample paramaters to correct any possible biases. When this is done the results are broken down not only by the responses to the questions but by age, gender, religion and other demographics. The Gallup Poll is trusted by many different organizations and has set the standard for public opinion polls. Results garnered from the Gallup Poll have been historically accurate. This is due to the fact that Gallup has been doing public opinion polls for years and that its method of polling is very effective.

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