Why polling failure is often journalistic failure

This is an abbreviated version of a commentary originally posted at The Hill; the commentary was drawn from Lost in a Gallup: Polling Failure in U.S. Presidential Elections. It’s axiomatic that pre-election polls set the narrative for U.S. presidential campaigns. … polls are central to shaping conventional wisdom about the competitiveness of the races. But […]

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‘Lost in a Gallup,’ FAQs

Lost in a Gallup: Polling Failure in U.S. Presidential Elections is the story of polling flops, epic upsets, unforeseen landslides, and exit poll fiascoes in American presidential elections. It is now out from University of California Press. Here are FAQs about Lost in a Gallup, the seventh solo-authored book by W. Joseph Campbell. Q: Clever […]

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The hazards of glide-path campaigning

This is an abbreviated version of a commentary originally published at The Hill The “Dewey defeats Truman” upset election of 1948 is endlessly fascinating, an enthralling morality tale about the cockiness of pollsters, the credulity of journalists, and the hazards of glide-path campaigning. Pollsters were confident that Thomas E. Dewey would unseat President Harry Truman […]

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Reminders from ’48 in McCullough’s take on Truman’s come-from-behind campaign

The 1948 presidential campaign is endlessly fascinating, and it’s addressed at chapter length in Lost in a Gallup, my forthcoming book about polling failure in U.S. presidential elections. Lately, I’ve been rereading David McCullough’s account of President Harry S. Truman’s come-from-behind victory in ’48. That chapter is a highlight of McCullough’s hefty, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, […]

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