Understanding Public Opinion Polls

Editor/Author Bethlehem, Jelke
Publication Year: 2017
Publisher: CRC Press

Single-User Purchase Price: $149.95
Unlimited-User Purchase Price: Not Available
ISBN: 978-1-138-06655-7
Category: Social Sciences - Research Methods & Study Skills
Image Count: 126
Book Status: Available
Table of Contents

Polls are conducted every day all around the world for almost everything (especially during elections). But not every poll is a good one. A lot depends on the type of questions asked, how they are asked and whether the sample used is truly representative. And these are not the only aspects of a poll that should be checked. So how does one separate the chaff from the wheat?

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Table of Contents

  • CHAPTER 1 ▪ About Polls
  • 1.1 THE WHEAT AND THE CHAFF
  • 1.2 WHAT IS A POLL?
  • 1.3 CONDUCTING A POLL
  • 1.3.1 The Target Population
  • 1.3.2 The Variables
  • 1.3.3 The Population Characteristics
  • 1.3.4 The Questionnaire
  • 1.3.5 The Mode of Data Collection
  • 1.3.6 The Sampling Frame
  • 1.3.7 The Sampling Design
  • 1.3.8 The Sample Size
  • 1.3.9 Data Collection
  • 1.3.10 Analysis
  • 1.3.11 Nonresponse Correction
  • 1.3.12 Publication
  • 1.4 EXAMPLES OF POLLS
  • 1.4.1 The American Community Survey
  • 1.4.2 The Eurobarometer
  • 1.5 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER 2 ▪ Some History
  • 2.1 THE ORIGINS OF STATISTICAL DATA COLLECTION
  • 2.2 THE CENSUS ERA
  • 2.3 THE RISE OF SURVEY SAMPLING
  • 2.4 OPINION POLLS
  • 2.5 FROM TRADITIONAL TO COMPUTER-ASSISTED INTERVIEWING
  • 2.6 ONLINE POLLS
  • 2.7 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER 3 ▪ The Questionnaire
  • 3.1 ASKING QUESTIONS
  • 3.2 ASKING FACTUAL AND NONFACTUAL QUESTIONS
  • 3.3 THE TEXT OF THE QUESTION
  • 3.3.1 Is Familiar Wording Used in the Text?
  • 3.3.2 Is the Question Ambiguous?
  • 3.3.3 Is the Question Text Too Long?
  • 3.3.4 Is It a Recall Question?
  • 3.3.5 Is It a Leading Question?
  • 3.3.6 Does the Question Ask Things People Don't Know?
  • 3.3.7 Is It a Sensitive Question?
  • 3.3.8 Is It a Double Question (Also Called a Double-Barreled Question)?
  • 3.3.9 Is It a Negative Question?
  • 3.3.10 Is It a Hypothetical Question?
  • 3.4 QUESTION TYPES
  • 3.4.1 Open Questions
  • 3.4.2 Closed Question, One Answer
  • 3.4.3 Closed Question, More Than One Answer
  • 3.4.4 Numerical Question
  • 3.4.5 Grid Question
  • 3.5 THE ORDER OF THE QUESTIONS
  • 3.6 TESTING THE QUESTIONNAIRE
  • 3.7 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER 4 ▪ Data Collection
  • 4.1 MODES OF DATA COLLECTION
  • 4.2 MAIL POLLS
  • 4.3 FACE-TO-FACE POLLS
  • 4.4 TELEPHONE POLLS
  • 4.5 ONLINE POLLS
  • 4.6 THE CHOICE OF THE MODE OF DATA COLLECTION
  • 4.7 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER 5 ▪ Sampling
  • 5.1 BY A SAMPLE WE MAY JUDGE THE WHOLE PIECE
  • 5.2 A REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLE?
  • 5.3 THE SAMPLING FRAME
  • 5.4 HOW NOT TO SELECT A SAMPLE
  • 5.4.1 A Poll in a Shopping Mall
  • 5.4.2 A Poll in a Magazine
  • 5.4.3 A Poll about Singles
  • 5.4.4 A Household Poll
  • 5.5 RANDOM NUMBERS
  • 5.6 SIMPLE RANDOM SAMPLING
  • 5.7 SYSTEMATIC SAMPLING
  • 5.8 TWO-STAGE SAMPLING
  • 5.9 QUOTA SAMPLING
  • 5.10 SELF-SELECTION
  • 5.11 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER 6 ▪ Estimation
  • 6.1 ESTIMATOR AND ESTIMATE
  • 6.2 AN EXAMPLE OF A POLL
  • 6.3 ESTIMATING A POPULATION PERCENTAGE
  • 6.4 ESTIMATING A POPULATION MEAN
  • 6.5 HOW LARGE SHOULD THE SAMPLE BE?
  • 6.5.1 The Sample Size for Estimating a Percentage
  • 6.5.2 The Sample Size for Estimating a Mean
  • 6.6 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER 7 ▪ Nonresponse
  • 7.1 THE NONRESPONSE PROBLEM
  • 7.2 CONSEQUENCES OF NONRESPONSE
  • 7.3 NONRESPONSE ANALYSIS
  • 7.4 NONRESPONSE CORRECTION
  • 7.5 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER 8 ▪ Online Polls
  • 8.1 THE RISE OF ONLINE POLLS
  • 8.2 UNDERCOVERAGE IN ONLINE POLLS
  • 8.3 SAMPLE SELECTION FOR AN ONLINE POLL
  • 8.4 NONRESPONSE IN ONLINE POLLS
  • 8.5 ADJUSTMENT WEIGHTING
  • 8.6 MEASUREMENT ERRORS
  • 8.6.1 Response Order Effects
  • 8.6.2 Endorsing the Status Quo
  • 8.6.3 Selecting the Middle Option
  • 8.6.4 Straight-Lining
  • 8.6.5 Don't Know
  • 8.6.6 Arbitrary Answer
  • 8.6.7 Other Aspects
  • 8.7 ONLINE PANELS
  • 8.8 EXAMPLE: THE UK POLLING DISASTER
  • 8.9 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER 9 ▪ Election Polls
  • 9.1 VOTING AND POLLING
  • 9.2 PREELECTION POLLS
  • 9.2.1 Asking for Voting Intentions
  • 9.2.2 Data Collection
  • 9.2.3 Representativity
  • 9.2.4 Single-Question Polls
  • 9.2.5 An Example: The U.S. Presidential Election in 2016
  • 9.3 EXIT POLLS
  • 9.3.1 The First Exit Poll
  • 9.3.2 The Basics of Exit Polls
  • 9.3.3 Examples of Exit Polls
  • 9.4 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER 10 ▪ Analysis
  • 10.1 THE ANALYSIS OF POLL DATA
  • 10.2 ANALYSIS OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF A QUANTITATIVE VARIABLE
  • 10.3 ANALYSIS OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF A QUALITATIVE VARIABLE
  • 10.4 ANALYSIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TWO QUANTITATIVE VARIABLES
  • 10.5 ANALYSIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TWO QUALITATIVE VARIABLES
  • 10.6 ANALYSIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A QUANTITATIVE AND A QUALITATIVE VARIABLE
  • 10.7 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER 11 ▪ Publication
  • 11.1 THE RESEARCH REPORT
  • 11.2 THE STRUCTURE OF THE RESEARCH REPORT
  • 11.2.1 The Executive Summary
  • 11.2.2 The Methodological Account
  • 11.2.3 The Outcomes of the Analysis
  • 11.2.4 The Conclusions
  • 11.2.5 Literature
  • 11.2.6 Appendices
  • 11.3 USE OF GRAPHS
  • 11.3.1 Pie Chart
  • 11.3.2 Bar Chart
  • 11.3.3 Dot Plot
  • 11.3.4 Grouped and Stacked Bar Chart
  • 11.3.5 Showing Developments over Time
  • 11.4 GUIDELINES FOR DESIGNING GRAPHS
  • 11.4.1 Guideline 1: Do Not Mess with the Scales
  • 11.4.2 Guideline 2: Put the Data in the Proper Context
  • 11.4.3 Guideline 3: Be Careful with the Use of Symbols
  • 11.4.4 Guideline 4: No Three-Dimensional Perspective
  • 11.4.5 Guideline 5: No Chart Junk
  • 11.5 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER 12 ▪ A Checklist for Polls
  • 12.1 SEPARATING THE CHAFF FROM THE WHEAT
  • 12.2 THE NINE QUESTIONS
  • 12.2.1 Is There a Research Report?
  • 12.2.2 Is the Poll Commissioned or Sponsored by an Organization That Has No Interest in Its Outcomes?
  • 12.2.3 Is the Target Population Clearly Defined?
  • 12.2.4 Is the Questionnaire Available?
  • 12.2.5 Is the Sample a Random Sample?
  • 12.2.6 Are the Initial Sample Size and Realized Sample Size Reported?
  • 12.2.7 Is the Response Rate Sufficiently High, Say Higher than 50%?
  • 12.2.8 Have the Outcomes Been Corrected for Selective Nonresponse?
  • 12.2.9 Are the Margins of Error Specified?
  • 12.3 AN EXAMPLE: SOCIAL MEDIA STRESS
  • 12.3.1 Is There a Research Report?
  • 12.3.2 Is the Poll Commissioned or Sponsored by an Organization That Has No Interest in Its Outcomes?
  • 12.3.3 Is the Target Population Clearly Defined?
  • 12.3.4 Is the Questionnaire Included in the Research Report?
  • 12.3.5 Is the Sample a Random Sample for Which Each Person in the Target Population Has a Positive Probability of Selection?
  • 12.3.6 Are the Initial Sample Size and the Realized Sample Size (Number of Respondents) Reported?
  • 12.3.7 Is the Response Rate Sufficiently High, Say Higher than 50%?
  • 12.3.8 Have the Outcomes Been Corrected (By Adjustment Weighting) for Selective Nonresponse?
  • 12.3.9 Are the Margins of Error Specified?
  • 12.4 SUMMARY