Voting By Numbers

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The public opinion poll is like a feedbag in the horserace metaphor for politics. As George Bush and John Kerry round the campaign track it’s the polls which tell us who’s ahead.

When the poll numbers don’t add up the whole metaphor falls apart, and voters are left bewildered and confused. Polls are now such a ubiquitous part of the campaign that we all take them and their reliability for granted.

However, the average American, the person who’s the target of the pollster is today harder to define, harder to find on a cell phone, and much harder to pin down for a session of honest answers to earnest questions.


Matthew Felling, Media Director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs

Whit Ayres, pollster with Ayres McHenry, a Republican polling firm

Jeremy Rosner, partner at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic polling firm.