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exit polls

polls conducted as voters leave selected polling places on Election Day

margin of error

a measure of the accuracy of a public opinion poll

political socialization

the process through which individuals acquire their political beliefs and values

public opinion

what the public thinks about a particular issue or set of issues at any point in time

public opinion polls

interviews or surveys with samples of citizens that are used to estimate the feelings and beliefs of the entire population

push polls

polls taken for the purpose of providing information on an opponent that would lead respondents to vote against that candidate

random sampling

a method of poll selection that gives each person in a group the same chance of being selected


a subset of the whole population selected to be questioned for the purposes of prediction or gauging opinion

stratified sampling

a variation of random sampling; census data are used to divide the country into four sampling regions. Sets of counties and standard metropolitan statistical areas are then randomly selected in proportion to the total national population

straw polls

unscientific surveys used to gauge public opinion on a variety of issues and policies.

tracking polls

continuous surveys that enable a campaign or news organization to chart a candidate's daily rise or fall in support.

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