Definition Of Polls

Polls sample opinions, political affiliations, and voting patterns to predict trends and election outcomes. Since the 1930s, polling has become increasingly prominent in U.S. election strategies, and are conducted regularly by most political parties. Campaigns often base their media budgets, messaging, and schedules on poll results. Modern polling techniques can generally achieve a high level of accuracy (about a 3% margin of error) from a random sample of 1,000 participants. A notable historical exception was the 1948 U.S. election, when a vast majority of polls erroneously predicted that Thomas Dewey would defeat Harry Truman for president. Various types of polling are now used in democracies worldwide.