Can We Really Know What People Think? How Polls Influence Politics
Americans are inundated with public opinion polling, especially around elections. We seem to be obsessed with knowing who’s winning and who’s losing well before the election actually happens. We are also obsessed with knowing whether our opinions fit the “mainstream” or are somehow out in left (or right) field. In this seminar we will explore the role of polling in the American political environment, including the fall Congressional elections. Taking advantage of the unique resources of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, we will look at polling data, question wording, and examine how 900-1000 people can actually represent the opinions of millions of Americans.