Superpollsters: How They Measure and Manipulate Public Opinion in America

Overview

On the eve of the 1992 presidential election, The Superpollsters: How They Measure and Manipulate Public Opinion in America takes a look at the people who tell us what we think. A public opinion pollster for twenty years, author David W. Moore includes profiles of Shere Hite, author of The Hite Report, the groundbreaking and controversial work on sexuality; George Gallup, the man who broke polling practice with his 1936 prediction of Hoover's defeat and FDR's victory, the man who pioneered modern polling ...

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Overview

On the eve of the 1992 presidential election, The Superpollsters: How They Measure and Manipulate Public Opinion in America takes a look at the people who tell us what we think. A public opinion pollster for twenty years, author David W. Moore includes profiles of Shere Hite, author of The Hite Report, the groundbreaking and controversial work on sexuality; George Gallup, the man who broke polling practice with his 1936 prediction of Hoover's defeat and FDR's victory, the man who pioneered modern polling practices; Lou Harris, JFK's pollster, the first of the television pollsters; Pat Caddell, the man responsible first for George McGovern's, and then for Jimmy Carter's, surprise capture of the Democratic presidential nomination; Robert Teeter, pollster for Nixon, Ford, and past and current pollster for President George Bush; Richard Wirthlin, pollster for Ronald Reagan; Mervin Field, head of the California Poll; and many others. Personal advisors to the candidates, pollsters often have tremendous influence on what the top politicians say, and how they say it. Here, too, is the lively history of polling. Its increasing sophistication parallels the growing complexity of our national political scene, from its rough origins to the present day, when the pollsters—and less frequently, the voters themselves—make or break a candidate.

The managing editor of the Gallup Poll takes a firsthand look at the people who claim to tell us what we think--how they work, who they are, and most importantly, how their personal agendas influence the information they give out. This updated, first paperback edition includes coverage of the 1992 presidential election and the 1994 congressional election.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Moore, director of the Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire, presents a highly readable history of opinion polling, describing the promise and problems created by pollsters' influence on the political process. With his provocative introduction, an account of professional pollsters' reaction to a presentation by Shere Hite on survey response, his book covers the major players and their role in the development of techniques such as ``Hierarchical Values Map,'' the empty ballot, focus groups, and random digit dialing. Moore analyzes the impact of exit polling on election results, as well as the emergence of negative campaigns resulting from pollsters' negative influence on campaign tactics. He also examines the emergence of media polls and their role in events such as the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries with politically active and aware patrons. Previewed in ``On the Campaign Book Trail,'' LJ 3/15/92, p. 110-12.--Ed.-- Ebba Kraar King, Melbourne P.L., Fla.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568580234
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 426
  • Lexile: 1340L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Preface
Ch. 1 The Sins of Shere Hite 1
Ch. 2 America Speaks 31
Ch. 3 Reinventing the Industry 73
Ch. 4 The Democratic Presidential Pollsters 125
Ch. 5 The Republican Presidential Pollsters 193
Ch. 6 The Media Pollsters 249
Ch. 7 The California Divide 301
Ch. 8 The Elusive Pulse of Democracy 325
Ch. 9 Polling and Politics in the Nineties 359
Notes 397
Index 419
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