In the 2000 national elections, $100 million was spent on campaign polling alone. A $5 billion industry from Gallup to Zogby, public opinion polling is growing rapidly with the explosion of consumer-oriented market research, political and media polling, and controversial Internet polling. By many measures from editorial cartoons to bumper stickers we hate pollsters and their polls. We think of polling as hopelessly flawed, invasive of our privacy, and just plain annoying. At times we even argue that polling is illegal, unconstitutional, and downright un-American. Yet we crave the information polling provides. What do other Americans think about gun control? School vouchers? Airline performance?
Preface -- Why Americans Hate Pollsters -- In Defense of Pollsters -- The Giant Polling Industry -- Reputable Pollsters Hate Bad Polls -- But There Are Plenty of Good Polls -- Why the Media Love (But Sometimes Hate) Polls -- Today’s Politicians Live and Die by Polls -- Polls, the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal, and Democracy -- Polling in Other Countries -- Testing the Pollsters -- Epilogue -- Appendix