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A Gallup poll is an opinion poll conducted by The Gallup Organization and frequently used by the mass media for representing public opinion. The Gallup poll is named after its inventor, the American statistician George Gallup. Until the mid 1980s the Gallup poll conducted its polls using door-to-door sampling methods. Now, however, nearly all samples are chosen using the process of random digit dialing. ("How Polls are Conducted", an excerpt from Where America Stands by Michael Golay, 1997)
The Gallup poll has existed since the 1930s. Historically, The Gallup Organization has measured and tracked the public's attitudes concerning virtually every political, social, and economic issue of the day, including highly sensitive or controversial subjects. Although Gallup has typically conducted its polling activities in collaboration with various media organizations and, on occasion, with worldwide associations and academic institutions, these polls are reputed to have been carried out independently and objectively.
Gallup polls are usually accurate in predicting the correct outcome of the Presidential election. A notable exception is the 1948 Dewey-Truman election, where nearly all pollsters predicted a Dewey victory. The Gallup poll also predicted a slim victory by Ford in 1976. Gallup was technically correct in the 2000 poll, although George W. Bush did not receive the majority vote.