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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Public Opinion Polls


Reminder: HW for your parents! Please have them take either the Pew Typology Quiz or theIdealog quiz and share their results with you. Record their ideology in your notes. How does it compare to yours?We will talk about the results and political socialization in class Thursday.

Can a survey of 1000 people accurately reflect the views of a country with over 300 million people? Why or why not? Discuss with your neighbor what you think.

Public opinion is one way the people are linked to our elected officials. Government policy makers are supposed to represent the will of the people and the use of public opinion polls is one way that they can gauge citizens' views and preferences for different policy outcomes. But in a country as large as the United States, how can these polls accurately reflect what the people really want?

Task #1: First, read this article on How Polls are Conducted by the Gallup Organization, one of the largest and most famous polling companies in the U.S.

Task #2: Next, go through this presentation on what makes a poll valid.







Task #3:
Polling Validity


Based on the information provided, determine whether the poll is valid. Mark V for valid, I for invalid. If the poll is invalid, explain what makes it invalid. You can just write your answers in your notes.


_______1. A random telephone survey of 1,152 people was conducted. They were asked, “Do you support or oppose the US war involvement in Afghanistan?” The answer choices were support or oppose.
_______2. A survey of 1,229 people exiting Worlds of Fun was conducted. They were asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of how President Obama is handling the economy?” The answer choices were approve or disapprove.

______3. A random telephone survey of 452 people was conducted. They were asked, “How likely are you to vote in the primary election?” The answer choices were very likely, likely, unlikely, not very likely.
_______4. A random telephone survey of 989 people was conducted. They were asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes?” The answer choices were: approve, disapprove, no opinion


_______5. A random telephone survey of 1072 people was conducted.  They were asked, “What should be done to improve the economy?”
_______6. A random telephone survey of 1,266 people was conducted.  They were asked, “If the election were held today, who would you vote for?” The answer choices were: Barack Obama, Michelle Bachman, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, or Ron Paul.
_______7. A random telephone survey of 1,319 people was conducted. They were asked, “Don’t you agree that teachers in the United States are underpaid?” The answer choices were: Agree, Disagree, No Opinion


_______8. A random telephone survey of 1,285 high school students was conducted. They were asked, “Do you favor lowering the drinking age to 18?” The answer choices were: Strongly favor, Favor, No Opinion, Oppose, Strongly Oppose


_______9. A random telephone survey of 1470 people was conducted. They were asked, “Do you support the legalization of same sex marriage?” The answer choices were: Strongly support, Support, No Opinion, Oppose, Strongly Oppose.

_______10. An online poll asked people if the death penalty should be repealed. There were 2,385 responses. The answer choices were: Repeal the death penalty, Keep the death penalty


Task #4:
Go to the website, http://www.pollingreport.com/, a collection of public opinion polls on a variety of topics. Look at some of the public opinion polls for at least two different topics/issues.

Record your findings (in your notes) for each of the following:

1. Name of organization conducting the poll
2. Date poll was conducted
3. Sample size (n=??)
4. Margin of error (MOE)
5. Specific question
6. Results
7. Evaluate the results. Any interesting or surprising findings?


Some Major Polling Organizations:



Review Videos










Start at the 3:30 mark for how polls are conducted

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