Understanding Public Opinion Polls

1st Edition

Jelke Bethlehem

Chapman and Hall/CRC
Published September 6, 2017
Reference - 286 Pages - 68 Color & 55 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781498769747 - CAT# K29317

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Polls are conducted every day all around the world for almost everything (especially during elections). But not every poll is a good one. A lot depends on the type of questions asked, how they are asked and whether the sample used is truly representative. And these are not the only aspects of a poll that should be checked. So how does one separate the chaff from the wheat? 

That’s where Understanding Public Opinion Polls comes in. Written by a well-known author with over thirty years of experience, the book is built around a checklist for polls that describes the various aspects of polls to pay attention to if one intends to use its results. By comprehensively answering the questions in the checklist, a good idea of the quality of the poll is obtained.


  • Provides readers with a deeper understanding of practical and theoretical aspects of opinion polls while assuming no background in mathematics or statistics
  • Shows how to determine if a poll is good or bad
  • Provides a historical perspective and includes examples from real polls
  • Gives special attention to online and election polls

The book gives an overview of many aspects of polls – questionnaire design, sample selection, estimation, margins of error, nonresponse and weighting. It is essential reading for those who want to gain a better understanding of the ins and outs of polling including those who are confronted with polls in their daily life or work or those who need to learn how to conduct their own polls.



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