Miller Center

Media Contact: Kristy Schantz, 202-758-3918

Has Polling Killed Democracy?

A Comprehensive Online Resource on Public Opinion Polling in American Politics

This web site is a "one-stop shop" for information on political polling in America, including an original timeline of notable events and controversies in the history of political polling, information on polling methods and standards, an extensive bibliography of books and articles on polling, and links to polling web sites and other polling resources on the web.

The site was created in conjunction with a panel discussion titled "Has Polling Killed Democracy?" held at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia on April 25, 2008. The event, sponsored by the Governing America in a Global Era (GAGE) program at the Miller Center, brought together leading scholars, practitioners, and informed journalists to discuss the relationship between public opinion polling and the quality of democratic participation and representation in the United States. A video of the event, panelists' papers, and links to other Miller Center resources on polling are accessible below.

View highlights from the Miller Center's Polling Panel

POLLING THROUGH HISTORY

An Original Timeline of Notable Episodes in the History of Political Polling

Truman Polling

The day after he had defeated Thomas Dewey in 1948, President Harry Truman holds up a copy of the Chicago Tribune that reads "Dewey Defeats Truman." George Gallup and the other major pollsters of the time had wrongly predicted a Dewey victory. This mistake was a tremendous blow to the fledgling profession.

LEARNING ABOUT POLLS

Information on methods and standards for political polling gathered from various sources

Polling Cartoon

In 2008 the polls wrongly predicted Barack Obama would defeat Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire Demcocratic primary. Despite many advances in polling technology over the last 50 years, pollsters still make mistakes.

MILLER CENTER POLLING RESOURCES

Has Polling Killed Democracy?
Jimmy Carter Oral History
Ronald Reagan Oral History
Presidential Recordings Program

POLLING ON THE WEB

An Annotated Guide to Political Polling and Polling-Related web sites

BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR FURTHER READING AND RESEARCH ON POLLING




This website was last updated October 2009.